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Aug 04, 2012

Non-Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement

Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jul 21;

Authors: Dresler M, Sandberg A, Ohla K, Bublitz C, Trenado C, Mroczko-Wasowicz A, Kühn S, Repantis D

Abstract. The term "cognitive enhancement" usually characterizes interventions in humans that aim to improve mental functioning beyond what is necessary to sustain or restore good health. While the current bioethical debate mainly concentrates on pharmaceuticals, according to the given characterization, cognitive enhancement also by non-pharmacological means has to be regarded as enhancement proper. Here we summarize empirical data on approaches using nutrition, physical exercise, sleep, meditation, mnemonic strategies, computer training, and brain stimulation for enhancing cognitive capabilities. Several of these non-pharmacological enhancement strategies seem to be more efficacious compared to currently available pharmaceuticals usually coined as cognitive enhancers. While many ethical arguments of the cognitive enhancement debate apply to both pharmacological and non-pharmacological enhancers, some of them appear in new light when considered on the background of non-pharmacological enhancement.

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