Viagra for the Mind??!!?!?!!!??
Anyone heard of Provigil? It is a narcolepsy drug that, when taken by non-narcoleptics, is said to significantly improve concentration and memory function, and raise IQ. Some have dubbed it "Viagra for the mind."
Johann Hari has written an interesting essay about his experience with Provigil. "It’s not an amphetamine or stimulant," he explains. "It doesn’t make you high, or wired. It seems to work by restricting the parts of your brain that make you sluggish or sleepy. No significant negative effects have been discovered."
Here he describes his experience while on the drug:
I picked up a book about quantum physics and super-string theory I have been meaning to read for ages, for a column I'm thinking of writing. It had been hanging over me, daring me to read it. Five hours later, I realised I had hit the last page. I looked up. It was getting dark outside. I was hungry. I hadn't noticed anything, except the words I was reading, and they came in cool, clear passages; I didn't stop or stumble once.
Perplexed, I got up, made a sandwich — and I was overcome with the urge to write an article that had been kicking around my subconscious for months. It rushed out of me in a few hours, and it was better than usual....The next morning I woke up and felt immediately alert. Normally it takes a coffee and an hour to kick-start my brain; today I'm ready to go from the second I rise. And so it continues like this, for five days: I inhale books and exhale articles effortlessly. My friends all say I seem more contemplative, less rushed — which is odd, because I'm doing more than normal. One sixty-something journalist friend says she remembers taking Benzadrine in the sixties to get through marathon articles, but she'd collapse after four or five says and need a long, long sleep. I don't feel like that. I keep waiting for an exhausted crash, and it doesn't seem to come.
Hhhhmmm... any thoughts out there on something like this?
Here is a negative piece from the LA Times on Provigil... it is particularly critical of the drug-maker's direct-marketing campaign on television, in magazines and through direct mailers, etc.
Again, any thoughts or knowledge out there on this?
It does seem a little Aldous Huxley-an to me, like soma in Brave New World.