Those in need of a brain boost often turn to “smart” drugs to temporarily turn up the volume on brain power, but the pills may in fact have the opposite effect, new research suggests.
Researchers looked into the effects of the drug modafinil, which is often prescribed to treat narcolepsy as well as being used by students and professionals to stay awake and focused, on people who would not necessarily need to take the medication, according to the study published in PLOS One.
The study involved 64 healthy participants, average age of 25, who were given either a dose of the “smart” drug modafinil or a placebo. Modafinil is a drug that is used as a stimulant due to its effect on the brains dopamine system and is taken recreationally, often by students and business professionals.
The participants involved in the study then took a test where they were asked to answer questions at a quick pace. It was found that those who has taken the “smart” drug took longer to give answers and had more errors than those in the placebo group.
These cognition-enhancing drugs, known medically as ‘nootropics’ are used primarily to treat people with cognitive or motor function difficulties due to disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ADHD.