2008-04-11

Brain doping? Is it ethical?

Nature published the results of a poll where they asked researchers about drug use to boost their brains. It turns out that from their respondents, "one in five respondents said they had used drugs for non-medical reasons to stimulate their focus, concentration or memory", even when half of drug users reported unpleasant side-effects.


Now, here I have only questions: Should drug use in science be restricted, just like in sports? If so, the main reason for doing it would be the health of users, "fairness" in "competition", or simply ethics? A problem here is to draw a boundary line, just like with sports. Many people have coffee, tea, or chocolate, and it boosts their performance. The thing is that it is legal and socially acceptable, plus the side effects are minor... Would there be any sense in anti-doping tests for scientists? If so, and a test comes positive, how could this affect their research?

OK, I don't have answers, but I do have opinions... I think people should do whatever they decide with their bodies. If somebody is insecure enough to think that drugs will make her/him smarter, it's her/his problem. As for me, good humor is the best brain stimulation... followed closely by tasty chocolate... or it substitute, i.e. sex.

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