, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 1–4

Cognitive Enhancement, Lifestyle Choice or Misuse of Prescription Drugs?

Ethics Blind Spots in Current Debates
Brief Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s12152-008-9023-7

Cite this article as:
Racine, E. & Forlini, C. Neuroethics (2010) 3: 1. doi:10.1007/s12152-008-9023-7


The prospects of enhancing cognitive or motor functions using neuroscience in otherwise healthy individuals has attracted considerable attention and interest in neuroethics (Farah et al., Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5:421–425, 2004; Glannon Journal of Medical Ethics 32:74–78, 2006). The use of stimulants is one of the areas which has propelled the discussion on the potential for neuroscience to yield cognition-enhancing products. However, we have found in our review of the literature that the paradigms used to discuss the non-medical use of stimulant drugs prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) vary considerably. In this brief communication, we identify three common paradigms—prescription drug abuse, cognitive enhancement, and lifestyle use of pharmaceuticals—and briefly highlight how divergences between paradigms create important “ethics blind spots”.


NeuroethicsEnhancementPrescription drug misuseLifestyle drugsPublic health

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de recherches cliniques de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada