Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One in seven students has dabbled in 'smart' drugs

Date:
November 14, 2013
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
American and European studies prove that students use prescription medication or drugs to enhance their cognitive performance. Researchers examined whether Swiss students have also experimented with neuroenhancement and which substances they take by conducting a survey of 6,725 students with an average age of 23 at the two universities and ETH Zurich.

American and European studies prove that students use prescription medication or drugs to enhance their cognitive performance. Researchers from the universities of Zurich and Basel examined whether Swiss students have also experimented with neuroenhancement and which substances they take by conducting a survey of 6,725 students with an average age of 23 at the two universities and ETH Zurich.

Majority consumes soft enhancers

Around 94 percent of the students surveyed had already heard of neuroenhancement. 13.8 percent of these students had tried to improve their cognitive performance with prescription medication or legal or illegal drugs at least once during their degrees. The substance most used was alcohol (5.6%), followed by methylphenidate such as Ritalin (4.1%), sedatives and soporifics (2.7%), cannabis (2.5%), beta-blockers (1.2%), amphetamines (0.4%), and cocaine (0.2%).

The respondents primarily took these substances during the exam preparation period, only consuming stimulating substances rarely in the exam situation or for general stress during their degrees. While daily neuroenhancement was a rare occurrence (1.8%), the majority consumed "soft enhancers" such as caffeinated products, non-prescription vitamin products or herbal sedatives before their last big exam -- around a third even every day.

The number of Swiss students who take neuroenhancing drugs is comparable with recent studies conducted at European universities. "The purported frequency of neuroenhancement at Swiss universities needs to be put into perspective as we asked about psychoactive and calmative substances," says PD Michael Schaub, the study leader and head of the Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction.

Narrow majority obtained desired effect

As a rule, advanced students who also had a job alongside their degrees and reported higher stress levels consumed performance-enhancing substances more frequently. Certain differences were apparent depending on the degree course: In Switzerland, students of the subjects architecture (19.6%), journalism (18.2%), chemistry (17.6%), economics (17.1%), medicine (16.2%), or pharmaceutics (16.1%) had more experience of neuroenhancement than budding mathematicians (8.6%) or sports students (7%), for instance.

According to the survey, the intended effect was only achieved in a narrow majority of the students, which is why only around half would actually take these substances to boost their brain power again. "The development of neuroenhancement at Swiss universities should be monitored as students constitute a high-risk group that is exposed to increased stress and performance pressure during their degrees," concludes Schaub. "However, there is no need to intervene as yet."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Larissa J. Maier, Matthias E. Liechti, Fiona Herzig, Michael P. Schaub. To Dope or Not to Dope: Neuroenhancement with Prescription Drugs and Drugs of Abuse among Swiss University Students. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (11): e77967 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077967

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "One in seven students has dabbled in 'smart' drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094756.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2013, November 14). One in seven students has dabbled in 'smart' drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094756.htm
University of Zurich. "One in seven students has dabbled in 'smart' drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094756.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) They can't all read yet, but soon kindergarteners may be able to create basic computer code. Researchers in Massachusetts developed an app that teaches young kids a simple computer programming language. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins