A Prescription For 'Brain Gain'? Drugs prescribed for attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy, epilepsy and other conditions are being used by people who don't need them, in an effort to enhance brain function. Journalist Margaret Talbot discusses the trend.

A Prescription For 'Brain Gain'?

A Prescription For 'Brain Gain'?

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In the modern world of busy schedules and busier lives, some people are turning to "neuro-enhancing" drugs to gain a competitive edge.

As journalist Margaret Talbot writes in the April 27 issue of The New Yorker magazine, a variety of students, professors and business people are taking drugs intended for attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy and epilepsy in an effort to enhance brain function and get ahead.

Proponents of "cosmetic neurology" say that the drugs allow people to reach their full potential, while critics warn that the drugs have not been tested for off-label uses, and that some may be addictive or harmful.

Talbot has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2003. She has previously worked as an editor at The New Republic and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. She is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.