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Pharmakologisches Neuroenhancement und „Hirndoping“

Chancen und Risiken

Pharmacological neuroenhancement and brain doping

Chances and risks

Zusammenfassung

Unter „pharmakologischem Neuroenhancement“ versteht man die Einnahme psychoaktiver Substanzen aller Art durch Gesunde mit dem Ziel der geistigen Leistungssteigerung, beispielsweise bezüglich Wachheit, Gedächtnis oder Stimmung. „Hirndoping“ dagegen meint die missbräuchliche Einnahme einer Subgruppe solcher Substanzen, die verschreibungspflichtig oder illegal sind. Zu diesen Substanzen zählen vor allem Psychostimulanzien (Amphetamine, Methylphenidat) und Modafinil, aber auch Antidementiva (Acetylcholinesterase-Inhibitoren, Memantine) und Antidepressiva (selektive Serotoninwiederaufnahmehemmer), die eigentlich zur Therapie des Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit-/Hyperaktivitäts-Syndroms, der Alzheimer-Demenz und Depressionen eingesetzt werden. Nachweisbare Effekte bei Gesunden auf Konzentration, Aufmerksamkeit und Wachheit finden sich nur für Stimulanzien und Modafinil, die jedoch relevante Nebenwirkungen und Sicherheitsrisiken aufweisen, die einen bedenkenlosen Einsatz bei Gesunden nicht rechtfertigen. Koffein zum pharmakologischen Neuroenhancement kann als wirksame Alternative angesehen werden. „Hirndoping“ wirft eine Reihe ethischer und gesellschaftlicher Fragen auf, die einer fortgesetzten Diskussion bedürfen – Forderungen nach einer Liberalisierung müssen kritisch hinterfragt werden.

Abstract

Pharmacological neuroenhancement refers to the use of psychoactive substances by healthy subjects with the purpose of cognitive enhancement, e.g., vigilance, concentration, memory, or mood. “Brain doping”, however, refers to the illicit use of a subcategory of these substances such as prescription drugs. This subcategory includes psychostimulants (e.g., amphetamines, methylphenidate), modafinil, antidementia drugs (acetylcholine-esterase inhibitors, memantine), and antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which are being prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Only psychostimulants and modafinil show significant effects on concentration, attentiveness, and vigilance in healthy subjects. However, a general use by healthy persons can not be justified because of relevant side effects and safety risks. Caffeine for pharmacological neuroenhancement can be seen as an equally effective alternative. “Brain doping” raises numerous ethical and social concerns that require a continued discussion. Demands of liberalization should be critically questioned.

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Correspondence to A.G. Franke M.A..

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Franke, A., Lieb, K. Pharmakologisches Neuroenhancement und „Hirndoping“. Bundesgesundheitsbl. 53, 853–860 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00103-010-1105-0

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Schlüsselwörter

  • Hirndoping
  • Kognitiv
  • Neuroenhancement
  • Leistungssteigerung
  • Psychostimulanzien

Keywords

  • Brain doping
  • Cognitive
  • Neuroenhancement
  • Enhancement
  • Psychostimulants