oschobero writes to tell us the Economist has a look at pharmaceutical research as it applies to cognition enhancers. While the research is obviously focused on things like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia, the resulting drugs may also have a benefit to healthy minds. "Provigil and Ritalin really do enhance cognition in healthy people. Provigil, for example, adds the ability to remember an extra digit or so to an individual's working memory (most people can hold seven random digits in their memory, but have difficulty with eight). It also improves people's performance in tests of their ability to plan. Because of such positive effects on normal people, says the report, there is growing use of these drugs to stave off fatigue, help shift-workers, boost exam performance and aid recovery from the effects of long-distance flights."
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