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Bad Moves: How decision making goes wrong, and the ethics of smart drugs Hardcover – 25 Apr 2013
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With this accessible primer, full of medical anecdotes and clear explanations, Sahakian and Labuzetta prepare the public for an informed discussion about the role of drugs in our society. (Nature)
About the Author
Barbara J Sahakian is a world-renowned researcher in the fields of neurology and psychiatry, and is currently based at University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Clinical Neuropsychology. She is co-inventor of the CANTAB computerised neuropsychological tests, which are in use world-wide. She is probably best known for her research work on cognition and depression, cognitive enhancement using pharmacological treatments, neuroethics and early detection of Alzheimer's disease. She has over 300 publications covering these topics in various journals including Science, Nature Neuroscience, The Lancet, British Medical Journal, Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, The Journal ofNeuroscience, Brain, Psychopharmacology, and Psychological Medicine. In recognition of her contribution to cognitive neuroscience, she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2004. Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta received her medical degree from UCSD, and is currently in the midst of her residency training at the Harvard-affiliated hospitals in Boston, USA. She is a neurology resident at the Partners program (Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's, two of the Harvard-affiliated hospitals). Her current academic interests are in neurocritical care and neuroethics, and she was recently co-author of an article discussing ethical issues involved in consenting vulnerable patients for neuroscientific research.
Top Customer Reviews
After this, there is a minimal amount of discussion about smart drugs, basically covering Ritalin and Modafinil, but basically ignoring the range of other smart drugs on the market, and mainly focuses on Modafinils potential to reduce levels of tiredness. It spends more time discussing the ethics of smart drug use in an otherwise healthy population, and tries to cover both sides of the argument, but not, to my mind, particularly convincingly - it would have been better to include not just a dispassionate outline of both sides of the argument with short arguments from proponents and opponents of using these drugs in a healthy population.
In all, the book is too short, and cannot cover the subject in sufficient detail, and focuses as a result mainly on ethics and theory and little on practical implications or how else someone could improve their decision-making.
Of course as with so many books along these lines, it often appears the bottom-line assumption is that our consciousness is entirely reliant on the chemical interactions in our brains, when there is of course no evidence at all this is the case- it is just perceived scientific wisdom that believes it to be so. In that way the brain may create the physical environment for 'decision 'making' but it has little to do with the actual decision making process, meaning drugs can do very little to enhance that process and by affecting brain function, may actually most of the time inhibit decision making more than anything else. Of course brain-damage can affect decision-making and the type of consciousness people experience, but that may be more along the lines of a how a damaged radio scrambles its signal more than an 'engine' malfunctioning. So, again, chemical drugs may be useless if this is the case and do more harm than good, despite all the best intentions and the identification of 'hot' and 'cold' regions of the brain charted in this book.
So largely a clinical assessment of the value and effectiveness of chemical drug use and a competent enough one at that but the issue- a fundamental one at that- of what exactly consciousness is and it's relationship to physical brain function seems to be side-stepped somewhat. A good read nonetheless that is thought-provoking and opens up debate in an area that needs much more consideration, and worth a look.
"in a very real sense, our selves - are the products of our decisions".
Which is true. A helpful reminder here.
The book goes on to discussions the process we go through when making a decision, then what happens when illness changes how we decide. Before looking at various drugs which can help those who are ill, but now are even being used by heathly persons. The authors ask if this use of a drug to helped stressed people make better choices is right.
A very interesting read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is ok for the interested person with no specialist background or qualification in this area but I think some health professionals and academics might take issue with some of... Read morePublished on 22 Oct. 2014 by Lilly Penhaligon
This is a book that does so much. The real problem is that it's tried to cover two topics (decision-making, and smart drugs) which don't sit well together and therefore it hasn't... Read morePublished on 11 Oct. 2014 by Mr. T. Ralph
Bad Moves: How decision making goes wrong, and the ethics of smart drugs
If you only read the capitalised part of the title you might expect a critique of “Strictly come... Read more
I was really surprise by how much I enjoyed this book.
I have read some books that touched on the subject of decision making, but never one that dealt solely with the... Read more
Great book for any medical person or even an interested one. Well written and full of useful informationPublished on 6 Aug. 2014 by G. Cook
This book is not for you if you understand how the brain works already. It is for you if you'd like to explore "why everyone acts so stupid" or "how people really don't... Read morePublished on 26 Jun. 2014 by Clive Carter
Author's, Barbara J Sahakian, a researcher in the fields of neurology and psychiatry and Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta,currently in residency training at the Harvard-affiliated hospitals... Read morePublished on 30 April 2014 by Jago Wells
Some interesting points made, though it feels heavily biased, as though an opinion is being forced upon me in regards to the information about prescription drugs and their... Read morePublished on 15 April 2014 by E.Fox
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