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
Memories Influence Choice of Food
22.05.2015 | Universität Basel
Memories Influence The Decision in Choosing Certain Foods
21.05.2015 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2015 | Information Technology
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences