Common ‘smart pills’ used by swotting students actually make you dumber

Common 'smart pills' used by swotting students actually make you dumber
Pyschostimulants such as Modafinil make students stupider a study has found (Rex)

A pill used by students to give them a mental edge could be doing exactly the opposite of what it says on the tin – Modafinil, also known as Modalert, or Modavigil, actually makes you stupid.

In the UK, the drug is available on prescription to sufferers of narcolepsy, but is widely available to buy on the internet – used by students and shift workers as a concentration aid.

But in tests, users actually performed worse: the ‘smart’ pill made people answer questions slowly, and – more importantly – less accurately.

We looked at how the drug acted when you are required to respond accurately and in a timely manner. Our findings were completely opposite to the results we expected,’ said Ahmed Dahir Mohamed.

Patients who had been given the drug were slower and less accurate when responding to a psychological test where they were asked to complete sentences, Mohamed said.

‘It has been argued that Modafinil might improve your performance by delaying your ability to respond. It has been suggested this ‘delay dependent improvement’ might improve cognitive performance by making people less impulsive. We found no evidence to support those claims,’ said Mohamed.

The only people who benefited, it turned out, were those with low cognitive abilities anyway. So if you’re stupid, take Modafinil. Otherwise, leave well alone.

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14 November 2014 | 4:38 pm – Source: metro.co.uk

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