Advertisement

Neuroenhancement: status quo and perspectives

  • Claus NormannEmail author
  • Mathias Berger
Article

Abstract

Neuroenhancement is a pharmacological attempt to increase cognitive performance in healthy humans. Strategies to improve learning and memory aim at plasticity pathways in the brain; phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as rolipram and NMDA-modulating drugs like donepezil and d-cycloserine have been tested in clinical trials. Modafinil and methylphenidate are used to increase attention and vigilance. Other fields of intense research include mood, social interaction and sexual performance. So far, all clinical trials of neuroenhancing drugs have either failed or demonstrated only very limited efficacy. However, the high demand for neuroenhancement and the intense research efforts might come up with more efficacious drugs in the near future implying the need for an extended ethical discussion in society.

Keywords

neuroenhancement plasticity  learning cognition modafinil 

Notes

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

References

  1. 1.
    Ballon JS, Feifel D (2006) A systematic review of modafinil: potential clinical uses and mechanisms of action. J Clin Psychiatry 67:554–566PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barad M, Bourtchouladze R, Winder DG, Golan H, Kandel E (1998) Rolipram, a type IV-specific phosphodiesterase inhibitor, facilitates the establishment of long-lasting long-term potentiation and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95:15020–15025PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bliss TV, Lomo T (1973) Long-lasting potentiation of synaptic transmission in the dentate area of the anaesthetized rabbit following stimulation of the perforant path. J Physiol 232:331–356PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cavanaugh JC, Blanchard-Fields F (2006) Adult development and aging. Wadsworth Publishing/Thomson Learning, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dudek SM, Bear MF (1992) Homosynaptic long-term depression in area CA1 of hippocampus and effects of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor blockade. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89:4363–4367PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Elliott R, Sahakian BJ, Matthews K, Bannerjea A, Rimmer J, Robbins TW (1997) Effects of methylphenidate on spatial working memory and planning in healthy young adults. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 131:196–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gage FH (2000) Mammalian neural stem cells. Science 287:1433–1438PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gasser P (1996) Die psycholytische Psychotherapie in der Schweiz von 1988–1993. Schweizer Archiv für Neurologie und Psychiatrie 147:56–65Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Harmer CJ, Shelley NC, Cowen PJ, Goodwin GM (2004) Increased positive versus negative affective perception and memory in healthy volunteers following selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. Am J Psychiatry 161:1256–1263PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hebb DO (1949) The organization of behavior; a neuropsychological theory. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hochberg LR, Serruya MD, Friehs GM, Mukand JA, Saleh M, Caplan AH, Branner A, Chen D, Penn RD, Donoghue JP (2006) Neuronal ensemble control of prosthetic devices by a human with tetraplegia. Nature 442:164–171PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Holderbach R, Clark K, Moreau JL, Bischofberger J, Normann C (2007) Enhanced long-term synaptic depression in an animal model of depression. Biol Psychiatry 62:92–100PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mulkey RM, Malenka RC (1992) Mechanisms underlying induction of homosynaptic long-term depression in area CA1 of the hippocampus. Neuron 9:967–975PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Normann C, Peckys D, Schulze CH, Walden J, Jonas P, Bischofberger J (2000) Associative long-term depression in the hippocampus is dependent on postsynaptic N-type Ca2+ channels. J Neurosci 20:8290–8297PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    O’Neill MJ, Bleakman D, Zimmerman DM, Nisenbaum ES (2004) AMPA receptor potentiators for the treatment of CNS disorders. Curr Drug Targets CNS Neurol Disord 3:181–194PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pfaus JG, Shadiack A, Van Soest T, Tse M, Molinoff P (2004) Selective facilitation of sexual solicitation in the female rat by a melanocortin receptor agonist. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:10201–10204PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Porrino LJ, Daunais JB, Rogers GA, Hampson RE, Deadwyler SA (2005) Facilitation of task performance and removal of the effects of sleep deprivation by an ampakine (CX717) in nonhuman primates. PLoS Biol 3:e299PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ressler KJ, Rothbaum BO, Tannenbaum L, Anderson P, Graap K, Zimand E, Hodges L, Davis M (2004) Cognitive enhancers as adjuncts to psychotherapy: use of d-cycloserine in phobic individuals to facilitate extinction of fear. Arch Gen Psychiatry 61:1136–1144PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Solomon PR, Adams F, Silver A, Zimmer J, DeVeaux R (2002) Ginkgo for memory enhancement: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 288:835–840PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tully T, Bourtchouladze R, Scott R, Tallman J (2003) Targeting the CREB pathway for memory enhancers. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2:267–277PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Turner DC, Robbins TW, Clark L, Aron AR, Dowson J, Sahakian BJ (2003) Relative lack of cognitive effects of methylphenidate in elderly male volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 168:455–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Whitlock JR, Heynen AJ, Shuler MG, Bear MF (2006) Learning induces long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Science 313:1093–1097PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yesavage JA, Mumenthaler MS, Taylor JL, Friedman L, O’Hara R, Sheikh J, Tinklenberg J, Whitehouse PJ (2002) Donepezil and flight simulator performance: effects on retention of complex skills. Neurology 59:123–125PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity Medical CenterFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations