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Neuroenhancement and the Developing Brain: Commentary on the AIMS Neuroscience Special Issue on “Neuroenhancers”

1. Neuroscience Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
2. Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Topical Section: Neuroenhancement

The use of pharmaceutical neuroenhancers to improve cognitive function poses unique neurobiological concerns as stimulants are being widely prescribed to adolescents and young adults with increasing prevalence. In the following commentary on the papers by Hoffman et al [1] and Cheung and Pierre [2] in the special issue on Neuroenhancers, we discuss the need to consider the effects of stimulant use in healthy adolescents. We review some of the data that has emerged on the neurobiological and behavioral effects of adolescent neuroenhancement, and conclude that special consideration should be taken to characterize the consequences of neuroenhancement use in the developing brain. Studies focused specifically on adolescent vulnerabilities to neuroenhancement are necessary because the brain undergoes dynamics changes that are unique to this period of development, which differentiates it from the healthy adult response to neuroenhancer exposure. Moving forward, scientists and physicians should take careful consideration to examine the long-term neurological consequences of neuroenhancers so that the therapeutic benefits that might be gained from neuroenhancement are not shadowed by negative consequences to public health in the future.
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Copyright Info: © 2015, Sarah Ly, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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