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A public lecture held at the Royal Society exploring the use of cognitive enhancing drugs


Professor Barbara Sahakian from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge explored the neuroethical issues surrounding cognitive enhancing drugs. This lecture was held on the 13th October, 2009 at the The Royal Society, London, SW1Y 5AG

Cognitive enhancing drugs are used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  These drugs improve the quality of life and wellbeing for patients and their families.

Professor Barbara Sahakian discussed how cognitive enhancement has ethical implications for society, particularly in regard to the increasing use of cognitive enhancing drugs in school-age children, and in young adults and academic staff at University.  She stressed how important is is to consider the potential harms of these drugs (such as substance abuse, unknown effects on the developing brain or coercion at school or work). Nevertheless, advances in gene studies to predict responses to drugs are rapidly developing, and we may be able to gain maximum benefits with minimum harms to the individual and society as a whole.

The lecture explored the potential risk weighed against the great benefits in the use of safe and effective cognitive enhancing drugs to many sectors of society, including the ageing population and people with neuropsychiatric disorders and brain injury.

To view this lecture on demand as a webcast please click here.

To download the flyer for this event please click here.

Posted on 02/10/2009

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