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POTENTIALS AND RISKS OF PSYCHOPHARMACEUTICAL ENHANCEMENT - [German]


Duration:

Jul 2006 - Apr 2008

Funding body:

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Contact:

Dr. phil. Thorsten Galert, M.A.

Wilhelmstr. 56

53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 2641 973-307

E-Mail: thorsten.galert@ea-aw.de
URL: http://www.ea-aw.de

Head:

Project Coordination:

Dr. phil. Thorsten Galert, M.A., Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

Member:

Project Group (Co-project supervisors):

Dr. phil. Thorsten Galert, M.A., Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler,

Professor Dr. med. Isabella Heuser, Berlin

Professor Dr. jur. Reinhard Merkel, Hamburg

Professor Dr. med. Bettina Schöne-Seifert, Münster

Project associates:

Christoph Bublitz, LL.B., Hamburg

Dimitris Repantis, M.D., Berlin

Davinia Talbot, M.A., Münster

Short Description:

The concept of enhancement lies at the heart of a growing debate about possibilities to improve emotional wellbeing and cognitive performance beyond what is considered “normal” or “natural” in healthy individuals. While a part of this debate focuses on future possibilities of transcending human limitations by neuro-bionic implants and other advanced technical devices, other means to obtain cognitive and mood enhancement respectively seem to be readily available nowadays: Certain antidepressants are said to help people without any mood disorder to feel “better than well”, and other drugs whose primary aim is to delay the gradual loss of cognitive functioning in patients with dementia may also boost memory or attention in the cognitively unimpaired. In most cases, the enhancement properties of approved psychopharmaceutical drugs have not been confirmed by rigorous testing. But even without scientific proof, a growing number of people are apparently ready to consume psychotropic substances for enhancement purposes. This colloborative project is meant to explore the emerging trend towards psychopharmaceutical enhancement from an interdisciplinary perspective. In a first step, conceptual ambiguities surrounding the term enhancement need to be resolved. On this basis, the available evidence on the possibilities and risks of enhancing mental functions by pharmaceutical agents will be reviewed from the point of view of medical science. This review will deliver the background against which ethical and legal issues can be addressed that may arise depending on the further development in the field of psychopharmaceutical enhancement.

Keywords

brain research – codes of ethics – disability – disease – end of life – ethics of science – human experimentation – medical ethics – medical ethos – psychiatry – psychology – technology assessment – technology ethics

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