Monday, August 24, 2015

"Limitless" Pill

In the movie Limitless, Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is a writer struggling with the worst case of writer's block known to man. His girlfriend leaves him, and he somehow gets his hands on a new pharmaceutical that will allow him to access 100% of his entire brain at once, making him a super genius.

Well, looks like real life is about to imitate fiction once again.

Modafinil is a drug that is drug for those suffering from narcolepsy,
sleep apnea, and other sleeping disorders. Here in the U.S., it's sold under the name Provigil. Like many powerful pharmaceuticals, however, people often take the pills for "off label" use.

Many college students have been taking Modafinil to increase focus and thinking.

A paper just published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology (phew, say that 5 times) last week reviewed several studies where test subjects took Modafinil and had their cognitive abilities measured. What they found was that this drug actually does enhance thinking.

Ruairidh McLennan Battleday, one of the co-authors of the paper, said that Modafinil does affect the "higher brain functions that rely on contribution from multiple simple cognitive processes."

Obviously, more research needs to be done to further examine what brain functions are enhanced, as current studies show that creativity isn't increased by those using this drug. Despite some of the unknowns and known side effects, college students will continue to take Modafinil to get an edge.

Is this what our country has come to? Back in my day, college students took drugs to get high. Now, they're taking drugs to get on the Dean's List!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Plus you have to wonder the overall long-tern effect of the drug. Usually the side effects sound ten times worse than the problem.

Anne Marie J. Schlueter said...

I couldn't even say it one time!

This is super interesting. My immediate reaction is one of distaste, but I'm not really sure how I feel about it. For me personally, I would never take a drug to increase my focus. Personally, I feel like it's a bit of a cop-out and lazy. Focusing takes effort and it's okay to struggle with it and work towards it. Perhaps that's unfair?

Jay Noel said...

Alex: The side effects tend to be a long list of symptoms, but in studies, the number of people having issues taking the drug was the same as those in the placebo group. Still, you have to wonder what it will do long term, like you said.

Anne Marie: I'm thinking that it's unfair. So the whole ethical aspect is also being debated now.

Pat Hatt said...

May up their brain now, but cause dementia or something when they are older. No pills for me, creative as can be.

Jay Noel said...

Good point, Pat

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Pills are great if they would fix things and not have side effects. I am waiting for the one that allows me to keep my wisdom (cough cough) and return to the body and face of my youth. :)

Pat Dilloway said...

I'm sure they used to take uppers to stay awake so it's just the next step.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Yes, what are those kids thinking? Maybe the incredible costs of college are inciting them to get the most for their money.
Susan Says

Chrys Fey said...

I watched only about the first 20 minutes of the Limitless movie and stopped because I thought it was weird. A little too weird for me. At least that was years ago. I'm not even interested in the new show coming on in the fall.

Lexa Cain said...

Although drugs can be a double-edged sword, I don't think one that enhanced intelligence would be a bad thing. Considering the number of problems our world faces, perhaps it would be a good thing.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

My son asked me about this. He couldn't remember the name of the drug, but he said there was a drug going around campus that kids were using to help them study. He wanted to know if I thought it was safe to take. I told him to stick with caffeine!

DEZMOND said...

in my country you just pay the money to professors to pass the exams and such things :)

Kimberly said...

Sounds interesting. I hate taking pills and I'm astonished when I hear the commercials with all the side affects - I'm always thinking, why bother. :)

Jay Noel said...

Whenever I think of young people taking a pill to help them with school, I can't help but remember that episode of Saved By the Bell were Jessie got all hopped up on uppers. I'm a child of the 80s.

Blogoratti said...

I'd worry more about the side effects. Limitless was a great movie by the way. Greetings!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Provigil is a pretty amazing drug. My brother takes it, and he says it makes him so much more competitive in his work environment. This next bit may sound a little like my "socialist" leanings shining through, but...I would prefer a work environment where there was no need for provigil. Instead everything could just get done in its own time, there was no need to outshine your fellow man, and no one had to be stressed about how hard they are working. I guess that would be my utopia.

Madilyn Quinn said...

When I saw Limitless, I swore up and down I didn't care I'd take it in a heartbeat. I'd be willing to try this Modafinil, maybe then I could actually get things done 0.0

cube said...

The side effects of everything freak me out. I'd rather not take anything including anything as innocuous as aspirin or acetaminophen. When it comes to taking Provigil, I say, "You first."

Anna Soliveres said...

It always makes me wonder what the long-term effects are. Back when I was in college (and especially now), students are using Adderall to study and to stay focused.

Loni Townsend said...

Whooboy. It would be cool to get the higher brain function, but yeah, like others said, what about the consequences down the road. I haven't had any creative blocks lately, so I think I'll stick to non-pill life for now. :)

Melissa said...

A triple shot from Starbucks does it for me. LOL

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

that def scares me...I'll stick with caffeine! lol

cleemckenzie said...

I'd be tempted to access all of my brain, but not sure I'd go for the drugs. Caffeine is about as druggy as I get.

Mark Noce said...

Yeah, aren't writers supposed to drink absinthe and languish in Parisian bars, etc.? If an author plans to take a drug, they best do it right;)

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