Adults Using Adderall to Gain an Edge, Not Treat ADHD
Neuroscientists, ethicists, and general medical practitioners generally have a negative opinion of a future in which we're all popping pills to gain an edge at work.
Stimulants like Adderall were once limited to treating so-called deficient attention spans in young people, and then the drugs became a popular (and illicit) study aid across college campuses — now it's increasingly used by healthy adults to gain an edge in the workplace.
The New York Times hosted a provocative debate over the future of performance-enhancing drugs; not in the arena of sports, where entire institutions exist to draw athletes' blood and analyze their pee, but in the professional world where very little regulation exists.
Big Think expert and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz says that stimulants do not simply bring people up to a normal level of functioning. Anyone who takes them will experience a boost in mental powers, which is perhaps what frightens those who envision a highly competitive workplace fueled by drugs like Adderall.
Even when I was an undergrad (about 10 years ago), everyone seemed to know at least one person with an Adderall prescription. And the Times reports that adults can basically badger their doctors into prescribing the drug (how do those awkward conversations go?).
Neuroscientists, ethicists, and medical practitioners generally have a negative opinion of a future in which we're all popping pills to gain at edge at work. In college, I remember friends putting off studying because they could simply take an Adderall and cram the night before.
Anjan Chatterjee, chairman of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital and professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, expresses a similar concern about how taking drugs changes how we understand certain virtues like freedom and diligence in fundamental ways:
"There are real worries about the increase of these drugs for work: They include the potential short- and long-term side effects of the stimulants; the potential mental trade-offs, such as the substitution of creativity for concentration; the erosion of character traits like persistence and dedication with pills as a quick solution; and coercion if brain enhancement was ever mandated."
The most approving member of the Times' debate likens the drug to socially acceptable stimulants like coffee and argues that drugs can level the playing field in a world where some have less of a natural ability to focus.
Read more at The New York Times.
Photo credit: USA Today
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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