More on MODAFINIL
Created in the 1970s in France, Modafinil (the generic name, sold in the United States under the brand name "Provigil") must be prescribed by a physician and is the treatment of choice for patients suffering from narcolepsy sleep disorders or sleep apnea . In off-label use as a smart drug, it is a well-known "stay awake" solution used to combat fatigue by ER doctors, study-obsessed university students and military personnel. Athletes have been named by the media as Modafinil users, including baseball's Barry Bonds, who have used Modafinil alongside human growth hormone and anabolic steroids.
The World Anti-Doping Agency listed Modafin as a banned substance in 2004. This smart drug has typically been used by athletes to extend training sessions and increase overall performance. In the United States, the FDA has declared Modafinil a Schedule IV controlled substance and illegal to import without a prescription, with a limit of only 50 doses.
[For the record: Jesse purchased Test Subject's drugs (not Provigil, but generic Modafin) over the counter in Mexico, and the experiment was performed in Thailand, so Smart Drug Smarts remains 100% compliant with all read – as far as you can prove it!]
THE TEST SUBJECT TO "VIRGIN BRAIN"
The anonymous Test Subject ("TS") is given a 200mg dose of Modafin just before 11am (a single pill is typically 100mg or 200mg), and Jesse checks with him throughout the day to learning the effects and subjective experience for a first time user. Fortunately, the TS was a rather talkative personality and had a lot to say:
"I felt quite busy with my work," TS said when asked to describe how he felt under the influence of Modafinil. Jesse suggests that if listeners were to take Modafin as a productivity boost, it would be a good idea to pre-plan the work they intend to involve, otherwise they could run the risk of investing energy in tasks that weren't worth the extra attention Modafinil provides. "Once you've already taken the drug [and everything seems more worthy of attention], you lose the ability to make decisions with your base level of interest."
When asked if TS would notice any noticeable difference in his behavior if he was given a dose without his knowledge, he said "I assumed I was feeling fine." He went on to describe how productive his day was – with less common distractions like the urge to check email or Facebook – but there were no obvious side effects, just a good general feeling and focus on his work.
Unlike stimulant stimulants like caffeine or cocaine, Modafin appears to promote wakefulness without jitters, anxiety, a heartbeat, or aggressive behavioral changes. And unlike Adderall, also known for providing exceptional mental focus, there are no negative health consequences. There is also no dopamine spike (dopamine is the brain's primary 'reward' neurotransmitter), so Modafinil is not considered potentially addicting. However, as a relatively new drug, patients haven't taken Modafin long enough to be understood for its long-term effects (or the internal mechanism by which it does what it does).
Modafin's half-life in the body is 15 hours – significantly longer than many medications, so those taking it must prepare for a long time before normal sleepiness levels return. The related drug Armodafinil, sold under the brand name Nuvigil, is an even stronger sleeping fighter and is also prescribed.
NEUROSCIENCE TITLE OF THE WEEK: TIPS FOR MAINTAINING COGNITIVE HEALTH
Do you want to keep your cognition in perfect shape? Harvard has some tips for you.
Be a student who lives a lifetime. Never stop learning. If you don't use it [your brain], it turns out we WILL LOSE.
Drain your brain. Push the limits with your thinking and learning. It is not enough to passively learn new information; you learn things in a complex way, you feel mentally challenged.
Make yourself uncomfortable. Routine is your brain's enemy. The brain retains its cognition by continually building and rebuilding connections between its cells. Get out of your routine and try something hard. Your brain will be better for it.
Be social. Isolation is another enemy for your healthy brain. Social activity and interaction keep the brain healthy, and it is something that often falls along the way in a later life – especially for the elderly who tend to live alone or apart from family members. Staying social will keep you mentally (and probably emotionally) in a better position for aging.