Three per cent of young men in Switzerland take cognitive enhancement drugs at least once each year.
Students hope this consumption will improve their exam performance, while their non-academic contemporaries seek primarily to remain awake for longer. These are the conclusions reached by a study supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
“Brain stimulants”, “Neuroenhancers” and “Smart Pills” – the terms used for chemical-induced cognitive enhancement are numerous. While these substances are actually intended for use in the treatment of attention disorders, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, they are often taken for other purposes. In the USA, one in every 20 students uses drugs such as Ritalin or Prozac at least once a year, despite not actually suffering from an attention deficit disorder or from depression. What is the situation in Switzerland?
Less than in the USA
Researchers led by Gerhard Gmel at the University Hospital Lausanne (CHUV) surveyed young men called up for conscription to the army recruitment centres in Lausanne, Windisch and Mels, on the frequency of and reasons for their use of cognitive enhancers. In a recently published evaluation (*), the researchers find that the use of cognitive enhancers in Switzerland is less prevalent than in the USA; only 180 of 5,967 participants in the study (around three per cent) had used brain-stimulating drugs at least once in the previous year.
Exams and partying
The researchers detected large differences between students and non-academics of the same age. On average, students take various cognitive enhancers five times a year. Their primary aim is to improve performance, for example in exams. Their non-academic contemporaries take drugs almost weekly, or around 40 times a year on average; most use Ritalin and other drugs that are prescribed for attention disorders. Their main motivation is to remain awake for longer, at parties, for example.
New prevention strategies
Gmel and his team believe the new figures reveal a need to widen the focus of studies into the consumption of cognitive enhancers. So far, attention has been primarily oriented towards (US-based) students. However, in Switzerland cognitive enhancers are being used to a greater extent by non-academics, for whom new prevention strategies will need to be developed.
(*) Stéphane Deline, Stéphanie Baggio, Joseph Studer, Alexandra N’Goran, Marc Dupuis, Yves Henchoz, Meichun Mohler-Kuo, Jean-Bernard Daeppen and Gerhard Gmel (2014). Use of Neuroenhancement Drugs: Prevalence, Frequency and Use Expectations in Switzerland. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11: 3032-3045
(Available to journalists as a PDF file from the SNSF at the following e-mail address: email@example.com)
The C-Surf cohort study
Consumption of addictive substances among juveniles and young adults living in Switzerland is more frequent on average than in other European countries. The Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-Surf) is looking into the reasons and opportunities for prevention. With funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), and under the leadership of the University Hospital Lausanne (Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois, CHUV) and the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Zurich, C-Surf studies young men over a period of at least ten years.
Dr Gerhard Gmel
Alcohol Treatment Centre
University Hospital Lausanne (CHUV)
Phone: +41 21 321 29 59
+41 21 314 73 52
This press release can be found on the website of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy