Sunday, January 08, 2006

Brushing up the brain

While we're at it with cosmetic neurology, there is also a nice article by Chatterjee freely available in Neurology. I think the conclusion in this paper says it all:

"In this paper, I have raised issues about cosmetic neurology that our profession will encounter. We may have our personal opinions on the correctness of such “treatments,” but do we have a stand as a profession? We can anticipate facing questions where separating principle from prejudice is not easy and for which there are no easy answers. To make these questions concrete, I invite readers to consider their own views on the following questions:
  1. Would you take a medication with minimal sideeffects half an hour before Italian lessons if it meant that you would learn the language more quickly?
  2. Would you give your child a medication with minimal side effects half an hour before piano lessons if it meant that they learned to play more expertly?
  3. Would you pay more for flights whose pilots were taking a medication that made them react better in emergencies? How much more?
  4. Would you want residents to take medications after nights on call that would make them less likely to make mistakes in caring for patients because of sleep deprivation?
  5. Would you take a medicine that selectively dampened memories that are deeply disturbing? Slightly disturbing?
Such questions are not simply thought experiments. Patients and advocacy groups encouraged by direct advertising to consumers will raise them. How will you respond to these “patients” when they turn to you as the gatekeeper in their pursuit of happiness?"

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