A drug that's been approved for narcolepsy turns out to be effective in improving a person's smartness.
Currently dubbed as the first safe smart drug by Guardian, modafinil can help improve a person's reasoning, decision making, and memory retention, especially during critical situations such as examinations. But unlike other types of drugs, this doesn't have any serious side effect and doesn't cause addiction-at least for the short term.
Modafinil is a prescription drug for narcolepsy, a medical condition characterized by idiopathic hypersomnia or the inability to control sleepiness. A person with narcolepsy can suddenly fall asleep at random times of the day or experience extreme fatigue.
While it needs a doctor's guidance, some reports revealed that many healthy individuals especially students had been buying it online to improve their chances during school examinations.
To better understand the possible effects of the medication among the healthy population, the researchers of universities of Oxford and Harvard analyzed the results of 24 previous studies about modafinil.
They found out that the drug has, interestingly, a number of benefits to healthy people. It can help them become more creative and alert. The drug can also make a person more receptive to learning and be more attentive.
Although some of the studies suggested that modafinil lessened creativity, this effect was more common among those who had taken a placebo. This alleged downside was also inconsistent across the studies.
It is unclear how the medication can make a person "smarter," but the researchers assumed it increases the blood flow to sections of the brain that govern cognitive abilities.
Although the drug can be helpful, the researchers are not encouraging healthy people to buy it other than for narcolepsy treatment. First, the long-term side effects are not yet fully known. Also, this drug is still not yet approved for other uses, and the chances that it will be are low.