Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Making the grade with Provigil

From Reuters:
In December, Volkow said recent surveys on college campuses suggest drugs such as Novartis' Ritalin (NOVN.VX), or methylphenidate, and Provigil are being used by students, professors and others as a brain-boosting drug.[1]
Turns out there's a high chance it's addictive. Athletes are well known for having their pharmacological sins, but apparently academics have a few secrets as well. Not me. The military has also had successful use with it, though not so much for cognitive enhancement as for minimizing the necessity of sleep during combat operations:
The French government indicated that the Foreign Legion used modafinil [generic for Provigil] during certain covert operations. The UK's Ministry of Defence has admitted conducting on-going research into Modafinil. While it has has reportedly been investigated by the United States military for use by its soldiers to replace the current amphetamine derivatives. One study on helicopter pilots suggested that 600 mg of modafinil given in three doses can be used to keep pilots alert with only 8 hours of sleep in an 88 hour period. Another study on fighter pilots showed that 300 mg modafinil given in three divided 100-mg doses sustained the flight control accuracy of sleep-deprived F-117 pilots to within about 27 percent of baseline levels. It's unclear what the long-term effects on the brain would be from this sort of sleep deprivation, especially for people in as high-stress an environment as combat.[2]
Of course if one is in low stress levels, maybe it is just merely addicting. It does offer up an interesting thought experiment. Suppose you knew that some illegal drug was addicting, but it would raise your IQ to 140, putting you right up with leading math and physics professors in mental ability (approx. 1 in 100 people).[3] Would you do it? Still, if you got caught, you'd be forceably taken off it, so you'd float back down to where you are now, something known in fiction as the Algernon-Gordon Effect.



[image] Comic Vine Website

[1] "Cephalon's Provigil may be addictive-US study" Reuters (Accessed March 17, 2009)

[2] "Modiodal, What is Modiodal? About it's science chemistry and structure." Chemistry, Structure, and 3D Molecules (Accessed March 17, 2009)

[3] "Definition of IQ" Geocities personal website of R.N. Seitz.

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At 2:44 PM, Blogger woofmutt said...

"Raise" my IQ to 140?

People who cheat will cheat no matter what the risk to their health or reputation. A current instructor of mine occasionally uses the phrase "Keeping the honest people honest." That phrase really steams my Brussels sprouts. Honest people are honest. They're not honest merely because the opportunity to steal or cheat hasn't presented itself.


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