Friday, 19 Jun, 2009 Health & Fitness

Ritalin: to Take or Not to Take


Professor John Harris, a medical expert, says that healthy people should have access to Ritalin in order to boost brain power. He believes that preventing the use of the drug for this purpose is unethical.

It is worth mentioning that Ritalin is a drug prescribed to young people who suffer from hyperactivity. Prof Harris says that Ritalin is safe for healthy people and can even offer "significant advantage" to them. Currently the professor works at the University of Manchester. He says that it is not rational to halt human enhancement.

"Many healthy students are thought to use Ritalin and other chemical cognitive enhancers to improve academic performance. The arguments against their being permitted to do so have not been persuasive," stated Prof Harris.

The scientist's comments were part of a debate that was published in a journal. His opponent was Professor Anjan Chatterjee from the University of Pennsylvania. Prof Chatterjee argued that administering Ritalin poses many risks unless people are truly ill. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeled the drug as posing dangerous side effects and it can make people develop dependence. The organization also issued warnings that Ritalin can lead to serious side effects on the heart, which in its turn could lead to death. Thus, in case the drug would be widely available, pupils could start taking it in "epidemic proportions". Besides the drug could also be used by pilots, police officers and doctors who might consider that Ritalin could help them do better their jobs.

"Being smarter does not mean wiser. The fact that very smart people generating complicated models to distribute financial risk contributed to the current global economic crisis should at least give us pause," said Prof Chatterjee.

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