Cognition on demand? - The wish for
cognition-enhancing drugs in medicine

by
Synofzik M. Institute fur Ethik und Geschichte in der Medizin,
Schleichstrabe 8, 72074 Tubingen, Germany.
M.Synofzik@gmx.de
Ethik Med. 2006 Mar;18(1):37-50


ABSTRACT

Definition of the problem: Due to recent advances in psychopharmacology, a large variety of drugs can be offered that intend to improve one's mood, memory and executive functions. These offers seem to meet the wishes and needs of people striving for enhancement of their mental capacities. How should medicine deal with these wishes? And, especially, what criteria might serve a physician's decision-making? Arguments: As shown in the following, this decision-making process cannot be convincingly informed by criteria drawing on the distinction between 'enhancement' and 'treatment' or on certain concepts of disease, normality or medicine. Instead, a decision-making model will be developed which builds on the traditional criteria of a physician's practice: the criteria of benevolence, non-maleficence, and autonomy. Conclusion: By means of this model, a new concept of "medicine-on-demand" will be suggested: a subjective medicine with a physician's recommendation and veto right.

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