A Drug Meant for Narcolepsy can Boost Brain Function

Aug 25, 2015

The Javorac via Flickr

By Alexandra Ossola

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug modafinil as a treatment for narcolepsy, a condition in which the brain has trouble regulating its sleep-wake cycle that results in sudden “sleep attacks” where a person falls asleep at unwanted or inappropriate times. In the years since, modafinil has become popular for another, off-label use: to boost a person’s cognitive abilities—an effect that hadn’t been thoroughly studied by scientists. Now a team of researchers has reviewed the literature to find that modafinil does, in fact, increase a number of important activities in the brain, according to a study published yesterday in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology. This finding, however, doesn’t ensure that your doctor will prescribe it to you to help you cram for an exam.


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