Students Using Narcolepsy Drug To Enhance Study Performance

By Brent McCluskey 08/31/15

Students are now turning more to "safer" drugs like modafinil to help them study.

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In the pursuit of higher education, many students have been abusing so-called “smart drugs” to enhance their cognitive abilities.

Most of the drugs used by students to gain a temporary mental boost are all but ineffective, particularly ADHD drugs like Adderall, but a new study from Oxford and Harvard suggest the narcolepsy treatment drug modafinil may actually be doing the trick.

The study analyzed 24 previous studies on the topic and corrected any inconsistencies, leaving behind qualitative data. Researchers discovered that modafinil was a true cognitive enhancer in “healthy, non-sleep deprived humans.”

“We found that whilst most studies employing basic testing paradigms show that modafinil intake enhances executive function, only half show improvements in attention and learning and memory, and a few even report impairments in divergent creative thinking," the researchers said. "In contrast, when more complex assessments are used, modafinil appears to consistently engender enhancement of attention executive functions, and learning.”

While the FDA says taking modafinil is safe, there isn’t currently any research on the long-term effects of using the drug as a cognitive enhancer.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.