Neuroenhancement: status quo and perspectives

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2008 Nov;258 Suppl 5:110-4. doi: 10.1007/s00406-008-5022-2.


Neuroenhancement is a pharmacological attempt to increase cognitive performance in healthy humans. Strategies to improve learning and memory aim at plasticity pathways in the brain; phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as rolipram and NMDA-modulating drugs like donepezil and D: -cycloserine have been tested in clinical trials. Modafinil and methylphenidate are used to increase attention and vigilance. Other fields of intense research include mood, social interaction and sexual performance. So far, all clinical trials of neuroenhancing drugs have either failed or demonstrated only very limited efficacy. However, the high demand for neuroenhancement and the intense research efforts might come up with more efficacious drugs in the near future implying the need for an extended ethical discussion in society.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Animals
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Learning / physiology
  • Long-Term Potentiation / drug effects
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants