“Smart Drug” Modafinil Slows Reaction Time in Cognitive Test

Provigil Does NOT Improve Cognitive Performance
Attention Late Night Crammers: Provigil Does NOT Improve Cognitive Performance

Modfinil, a drug used by narcoleptics, is sometimes used by college students as a study aid.  While the drug certainly helps prevent drowsiness, it does not appear to boost cognitive performance.  In fact, a study just published in PLOS ONE showed that health volunteers who completed a sentence completion test had a similar self-reported mood and equal number of errors as the control group.  Unexpectedly, the modafinil group was significantly slower than that control group to complete the test.  The lead researcher commented “Our research showed that when a task required instant reactions the drug just increased reaction times with no improvement to cognitive performance.”

This research is in contrast to a study published in the Journal of Appetite on Think Gum® that demonstrated that Think Gum® can be used to improve aspects of memory.  In this study,  students who chewed Think Gum® performed significantly better in multiple types of word recall tests.  The magnitude of memory improvement was dramatic.  Students in the Think Gum® group remembered over 25% more than either control group.  Additionally, those students in the Think Gum® group felt significantly more alert, felt that they could better concentrate and felt they had enhanced performance as compared to the other groups.

While Provigil (Modafinil) might help you stay awake, it certainly won’t help you do better work.  So although Modafinil may be useful to keep you awake during your all night study session, it isn’t such a great idea to take it during your math test when both time and accuracy count.  For exams where answers matter, you will want to buy some Think Gum.

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Report Says Medication Use Is Rising for Adults With Attention Disorder

Drugs to treat ADHD are on the rise
Drugs to treat ADHD are on the rise

A recent NY Times article by Alan Schwartz reports that the “The number of young American adults taking medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder nearly doubled from 2008 to 2012”.  Medications prescribed to treat ADHD include stimulants like Adderall and Concerta, as well as newer nonstimulant formulations such as Strattera.  In addition to ADHD, inattention can be cause by many factors such as lack of sleep, poor diet, and even anxiety.  In these circumstances ADHD drugs may be detrimental and excessive prescriptions have fueled a black market for ADHD drugs in high school and college students who use them to improve focus and and cram for exams.  Before reaching for prescription drugs, people with ADHD may want to consider alternative approaches to improve their memory and focus.