Published: 4th April 2013Memory-boosting drugs may keep students awake, alert and achieving top marks, but they bring with them a range of moral dilemmas.
CMF's Head of Public Policy, Philippa Taylor, addresses these in the lead article of the latest edition of Triple Helix – the journal published by the Christian Medical Fellowship.
Seen by some ambitious students as the winner's edge and maybe their ticket to a top job, so-called 'brain steroids' or 'smart dugs' can be bought for a few pounds to enhance focus, concentration or memory.
But, Philippa Taylor argues they could be seen in the same vein as athletes feeling under pressure to take steroids.
So far, warnings have centred on the addictive properties and side effects of the drugs. Of particular concern, Philippa Taylor says, is the use of smart drugs among people aged 18–25 who are the most common non-medical users:
'The brain continues to mature until the late twenties and beyond. No one really understands the consequences of long-term use of stimulants on the developing brain. At present, there is only scant data about off-label use.'
She concludes: 'Technology may bring benefits but it will come with costs attached. We need God's wisdom to weigh these up.
'Smart drugs cannot cultivate qualities like self-control, altruism, sacrificial love, relational commitment, faith, discipline.'
Dr Peter Saunders (CMF Chief Executive) 020 7234 9660
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
John Martin (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9665
Alistair Thompson on 020 3008 8145 or 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 4,000 British doctor members in all branches of medicine. A registered charity, it is linked to about 65 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian doctors to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.