On Wednesday 09 March 2011, QBI will host a seminar on the ethical and social implications of proposals to allow normal adults to use neuropharmaceutical drugs to enhance cognitive functioning or replace recreational drugs.

The speaker will be Professor Wayne Hall, NHMRC Australia Fellow, and Professorial Fellow with the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and the Queensland Brain Institute.

Professor Hall notes that some bioethicists have advocated that healthy adults should be allowed to use pharmaceutical drugs, such as CNS stimulants, to enhance their cognitive functioning - a practice dubbed 'neuroenhancement'.  For example, British psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist, David Nutt, has recently proposed that researchers should develop less toxic drugs that would use used instead of alcohol.
 
Professor Hall will critically examine the technical, social and ethical implications of such proposals, assessing the evidence for the claims that neuroenhancement is common and increasing among college students in the USA and evaluating evidence for the claim that 'neuroenhancers' in fact enhance normal cognitive functioning.
 
He will also argue that 'neuroenhancement' is a new name for an old phenomenon: a recurrent cycle of enthusiasm followed by disillusionment with the use of stimulant drugs for therapeutic or enhancement purposes. 
 
He says that the major challenges for David Nutt’s proposal are regulatory: that if a less hazardous ethanol analogue were developed, it is unlikely that it would be made available for public use either via the pharmaceutical regulatory system or by allowing commercial sale as a drug for recreational use by adults.
 
Seminar details: 
 
Date: Wednesday 09 March 2011
Time: 12:00 - 1:00PM
Speaker: Professor Wayne Hall
Place: Level 7 Auditorium, QBI Building (#79), St.Lucia Campus
Seminars will be followed by a sandwich lunch for all attendees.
 

For a list of upcoming seminars at QBI, go to www.qbi.uq.edu.au/neuroscience-seminars.