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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

"Smart Drugs" Make People Worse At Solving Problems

Financial services workers, medical students and others in competitive environments are using so-called “smart drugs” to enhance cognitive performance, Elizabeth Bowman of the Center for Brain, Mind and Markets of the University of Melbourne wrote for The Conversation.

Photo Insert: the study showed the drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dextroamphetamineare not so smart at all.



These drugs, like methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dextroamphetamine, have been used as part of treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the study showed the drugs are not so smart at all and those who took it made their output worse.


The study looked at methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine and modafinil, which increase the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.



These drugs are known for producing changes in attention, motivation, and wakefulness.

Using 40 people aged between 18 and 35 who did not have ADHD, the double-blind study researchers gave the drugs or placebo to the participants and asked them to solve the knapsack problem, which involves placing items with maximum value into a knapsack but not to exceed a certain weight within 4 minutes.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

The tests lasted four weeks. After taking the drugs, participants took much longer to complete the problems and tried significantly more combinations of items before submitting their selections.





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