The Latest Brainless Idea: Brain Drugs for Healthy People

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by: Tony Isaacs
Tags: Big Pharma, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) In a commentary in the latest edition of the journal Nature, several scientists make the dubious claim that healthy people should have the right to boost their brains with pills, like those prescribed for hyperactive kids or memory-impaired older folks. "We should welcome new methods of improving our brain function," Henry Greely of Stanford Law School in California, Barbara Sahakian, a psychiatry professor from the University of Cambridge in Britain and others wrote, contending that boosting the brain with pills doing is no more morally objectionable than eating right or getting a good night`s sleep

Dubious Opinions

Among several questionable justifications was this gem: since college students are already illegally taking prescription stimulants like Ritalin to help them study, demand for such drugs is likely to grow elsewhere. (One can only wonder if demand for other illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines grew among college students would that justify recommending those drugs as well?)

Many of the of the other justifications the scientists used for their opinion appear to be more in line with marketing sound bites than sound reasoning:

Commentary author Martha Farah, brain scientist and faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania said that as more effective brain-boosting pills are developed, demand for them is likely to grow among middle-aged people who want youthful memory powers and multitasking workers who need to keep track of multiple demands.

"Almost everybody is going to want to use it," Farah gushed.

"I would be the first in line if safe and effective drugs were developed that trumped caffeine," another author, Michael Gazzaniga of the University of California, Santa Barbara, declared.

Less Than Universal Acceptance

Although the mainstream media was quick to parrot the "good news" and some health experts agreed that the issue deserves attention, initial reactions to the commentary were far less universally positive.

Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics said, "It`s a nice puff piece for selling medications for people who don`t have an illness of any kind."

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said she agreed with the commentary that the nonprescribed use of brain-boosting drugs must be studied, but she also noted that she was concerned that wider use of stimulants could lead more people to become addicted to them. That`s what happened decades ago when they were widely prescribed for a variety of disorders, she said.

"Whether we like it or not, that property of stimulants is not going to go away," she said.

Erik Parens, a senior research scholar at the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank in Garrison, N.Y., said the commentary makes a convincing case that "we ought to be opening this up for public scrutiny and public conversation."

One challenge will be finding ways to protect people against subtle coercion to use the drugs, the kind of thing parents feel when neighbor kids sign up for SAT prep courses, he said.

And if the nation moves to providing a basic package of health care to all its citizens, it`s hard to see how it could afford to include brain-boosting drugs, he said. If they have to be bought separately, it raises the question about promoting societal inequalities, he said.

Study Authors and Sponsors:

Although the seven authors from the United States and Britain reportedly included ethics experts and the editor-in-chief of Nature as well as scientists, it is important to note that two of the authors admitted that they consult for pharmaceutical companies. Likewise, it may be enlightening to note that the authors developed their case at a seminar funded by Nature and Rockefeller University in New York.*

Despite the title, the journal Nature has been a mainstream science publication since it was formed in 1869 with the stated mission:

"It is intended, FIRST, to place before the general public the grand results of Scientific Work and Scientific Discovery; and to urge the claims of Science to a more general recognition in Education and in Daily Life; and, SECONDLY, to aid Scientific men themselves, by giving early information of all advances made in any branch of Natural knowledge throughout the world, and by affording them an opportunity of discussing the various Scientific questions which arise from time to time.

"Rockefeller" of course is well known as the family famous for their role of supporting and funding mainstream medicine`s suppression of natural and homeopathic alternatives. In addition, they have also been strong supporters of GMO and population control via eugenics.

Why Not Artificial Brain Boosters?

The idea of pills being no different healthwise than eating right or getting a good night`s sleep is beyond belief and borders on being morally corrupt for anyone who knows anything about health. And the idea that science might somehow devise unnatural compounds that were both safe and effective flies in the face of medical history. The history of the medical profession, as well as the food and chemical industries, has taught us that anything not found in nature has a very good chance of being ultimately harmful if we ingest, inject or become exposed to it.

The obvious reason that patented and highly profitable lab created compounds, synthetics and unnatural isolates are harmful is because they are not found in nature. As a result, when we take such mainstream drugs our bodies often react negatively to substances that are not part of the earth`s history of millions of years of life and man`s history of thousands of years of development. When it comes to medications, the problems are often compounded because the drugs function by causing the body to perform unnaturally in order to treat the symptoms of an underlying problem - such as masking pain or forcing the body to produce less cholesterol.

Over 95% of all approved drugs have side effects, many of them quite serious and a large number of those side effects lead to still more conditions and the need, according to mainstream medicine, for still more drugs. As has been oft stated, when your only marketplace is the human body, managing symptoms with expensive medications which cure little or nothing and often cause further illness is a good model for profits but a horrible one for healing and humanity.

In recent years, more and more people have turned away from the dangers of mainstream drugs and turned towards natural and alternative healing that is much safer, much less expensive and often more effective than approved drugs. In response, mainstream medicine, and in particular Big Pharma, has responded with stepped up efforts to suppress natural alternatives, flawed studies which seek to dismiss natural competition for healing and prevention and efforts to create new markets.

Brain boosters for healthy people has every look of merely being the latest attempt to create a new market and is very much in keeping with the ongoing attempts to create new uses for the statin drugs which have been created and marketed with huge success to treat what is essentially a created condition - the myth of high cholesterol. Many of the so-called brain boosters have also been marketed with great success to treat the huge increase in mental disorders being diagnosed for our children. Similarly, propaganda (and fear) has created perceptions that we somehow need an ever increasing number of vaccines.

The brain is an organ, just like the heart, lungs, liver, etc. To achieve maximum brain function and health requires proper nutrition and natural care just like other organs and our entire body. And, just like our other organs and body functions, if you try to use something not found in nature to make the brain perform unnaturally you are very likely courting far more trouble than benefit.

In the United States we have well over 10,000 FDA approved medications and we are by far the number one country in prescribed and over the counter drug use as well as per capita spending on drugs. Yet our rankings in most health categories among the nations of the world continue to drop. And now we wish to medicate healthy brains?

To keep the brain performing at optimum levels, give it proper nutrition from a healthy diet and natural supplements that help it function properly. In addition, just like a healthy body depends on an active and healthy lifestyle, so does a healthy brain depend on exercising it with stimulating mental activities like reading, puzzles and other problem solving activities - as opposed to a lethargic mental regimen of things no more mentally stimulating than reality shows, sporting events and American Idol. As the old saying goes, use it or lose it!

Sources included:

Yahoo News
The Associated Press

About the author

Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".

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