Healthy people should be allowed to take Ritalin to boost their brain power, a medical expert has argued.
Professor John Harris said it was unethical to stop the controversial drug being used for this purpose – as students have been known to at exam time.
He said that Ritalin, which is prescribed for hyperactivity in the young, is safe and offers ‘significant advantages’ to the healthy.
It is known to boost academic performance, focus and concentration.
Professor Harris, bioethics professor at the University of Manchester, writes in an article today on bmj.com that ‘it is not rational to be against human enhancement’.
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He said: ‘Humans are creatures that result from an enhancement process called evolution and moreover are inveterate self-improvers in every conceivable way.
‘Many healthy students are thought to use Ritalin and other chemical cognitive enhancers to improve academic performance. The arguments against their being permitted to do so have not been persuasive.’
The drug is routinely used on the Health Service to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.