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Cognitive enhancing drugs: neuroethical issues


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The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG



Professor Barbara Sahakian, University of Cambridge

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 will discuss 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. Therefore, it is important 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. This lecture aims to explore 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.

Cognitive enhancing drugs: neuroethical issues The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK