Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Told you so . . .

Just a little follow up to the "Drugs for Everybody" post. In that post, we talked about an article entitled, Feed brain with pills, published in Newsday, where so-called experts stated that “’[w]e should welcome” the idea of allowing otherwise healthy people to take powerful, psychotropic, Class II narcotics in the hopes of “improving our brain function.” That sentiment appeared in an opinion article published in the journal Nature.

Now, in an article entitled "'Smart Drug' Might Be Addictive, Experts Say," also published in Newsday, it turns out that one of the drugs that the above-noted Nature opinion article was pushing - Provigil (also known by its generic name, Modafinil) - causes "changes in the brain's pleasure center, very much like potentially habit-forming classic stimulants."

The Newsday article goes on to state that "Modafinil once was thought to be safer than conventional stimulants because it was believed that it did not engage the brain's dopamine system, which is linked with addiction. Studies in mice and monkeys have suggested otherwise. The new study [in the Journal of the American Medical Association] is the first human evidence that a typical dose of modafinil affects dopamine as much as a dose of Ritalin, a controlled substance with clear potential for dependence."

"It would be wonderful if one could take a drug and be smarter, faster or have more energy," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who led the study with a team that included several members of Brookhaven National Laboratory. "We currently have nothing that has those benefits without side effects."

But, here's the best part . . .
"One author of [the Nature opinion letter], brain scientist Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania, said the new study "goes to show that we need a little caution and a little humility when we're messing around with our brain chemistry."

Really?? Did you just think of that? For how many years have drugs like Ritalin been pushed on our kids, and it's just NOW that you experts think some "caution and humility" are in order?


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