Why 'brain doping,' meducation' and 'neuroenhancement' is bad for kids

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Some people call it "brain doping" or "meducation." Others label the problem "neuroenhancement."  Whatever the term, the American Academy of Neurology has criticized the practice of prescribing "study drugs" to boost memory and thinking abilities in healthy children and teens.

Physicians are prescribing drugs that are typically used for children and teenagers diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for students solely to improve their ability to ace a critical exam or to get better grades.

The problem is similar to that caused by performance-boosting drugs used in sports to increase strength and endurance.

The use of drugs to improve academic performance raises issues, including the potential long-term effect of medications on the developing brain. 

AAN also did not recommend the use of stimulant medications for academic performance enhancement.

These medications are clearly effective in the short term for treating the symptoms of ADHD, which "is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination," according to the ADAM Medical Encyclopedia.

Stimulant medications can help increase a child's attention span while controlling hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.  Studies suggest these drugs work in 70 percent to 80 percent of patients.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to www.drartmollen.com.