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American Chemical Society's Weekly Presspac -- Aug. 29, 2007
Date:9/3/2007

9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Sept. 3, 2007

Memory enhancement drugs show promise but face growing scrutiny
Chemical & Engineering News

In our aging society, with an increased urgency to develop new compounds that target serious illnesses like Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease, memory enhancement drugs are becoming a big business. But these same drugs are also creating a growing ethical controversy over their potential off-label uses, such as taking these drugs as performance enhancers to gain a competitive advantage in the workplace. These issues, along with the biochemistry of memory, are explored in an article (http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/85/8536cover.html)scheduled for the Sept. 3 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS weekly newsmagazine.

Right now, there are only a handful of memory-enhancing drugs on the market. In the C&EN cover story, senior editor Sophie L. Rovner describes work at several companies, from small start-ups to pharmaceutical giants, that are developing and testing a variety of memory enhancing products that show promise for the treatment of Alzheimers, Parkinsons, stroke and schizophrenia. In the continuing search for better drugs, even familiar compounds such as nicotine and coffee are being explored for their potential memory-enhancing effects, Rovner notes.

Despite their promise, theres growing regulatory and ethical concern about the use of such drugs for non-medical purposes. This includes using memory-enhancing compounds as stimulants to gain a competitive edge in the workplace or even on exams, which could result in unfair advantages over people who do not use the drugs. The possibility of off-label or recreational uses of these drugs could ultimately limit their wider acceptance, the article suggests. For better or for worse, memory-enhancing drugs are poised to play a bigger role in the future.

ARTICLE
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Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert

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