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Home Industry News BMA questions role of drugs for brainpower boost

BMA questions role of drugs for brainpower boost

9th November 2007

The British Medical Association (BMA) has released a discussion paper looking at the ethics surrounding decisions to improve cognition and mental performance with pharmaceutical products or even surgery.

The paper, titled Boosting Your Brainpower: Ethical Aspects of Cognitive Enhancements, has been produced by the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee (MEC) with the intention to stimulate debate on the issue.

Chairman of the BMA’s MEC Dr Tony Calland described the debate as a “fascinating area” which has seen scant discussion by the public.

He acknowledged that in some cases it seems particularly harmless, highlighting that many people take omega 3 supplements to prevent memory loss.

However, he indicated that society needed to consider where the pursuit for optimum brain performance could lead.

“Should drugs or medical procedures that are designed to treat medical conditions be used by healthy people who simply want to be better than normal?” he questioned.

Dr Calland illustrated that no drug or medical procedure was risk free and so underscored the ethical conflict behind providing treatment to otherwise healthy people.

Also this week, the BMA has stated that the government’s new regulation plans for GPs, announced in the Queen’s speech, are not in patients’ best interests.

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