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Professionals Use Drugs to Sharpen Their Minds, Survey Finds
Date:4/9/2008

ople from 60 countries -- said they'd taken Provigil, while 15 percent said they'd taken beta blockers such as propanolol.

Other popular drugs of choice included adderall, an amphetamine similar to Ritalin; centrophenoxine, which is used to treat dementia; and dexedrine, an amphetamine. Supplements such as ginkgo and omega-3 fatty acids were also commonly used, according to the poll.

One third of those using drugs for non-medical purposes said they'd bought them over the Internet. Others got them from pharmacies or with a prescription, according to the survey

The most common reason given for taking any of these drugs was to boost concentration. Combating jet lag was another frequent reason cited by the respondents.

Eighty-six percent of the respondents said they thought children under 16 years of age should be prevented from using these drugs. But one third said they'd feel pressured to give the drugs to their children if other kids at school were using them.

Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, predicted that the use of these drugs and other "neuro-enhancing" products and procedures will continue to grow in popularity as they become available, he said in the Nature report. One reason that use of these drugs is on the rise is that they don't rely on training of medical specialists, he noted.

About 50 percent of those taking these drugs reported unpleasant side effects, including headaches, jitteriness, anxiety and sleeplessness. These side effects made some people stop using the drugs.

Volkow said people take these drugs because they believe they're going to improve their cognitive ability. "But there really is no evidence to show that," she said. "In addition, there is no study that has been done that looks at long-term outcomes for taking these drugs."

She's also concerned that people may become addicted to the drugs.

"They take
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