Agile Alchemy

Enhancing physical and mental agility with the Alchemy of eugeroics (the class of stimulants that produce long-lasting mental arousal). We report on current research from reputable sources.

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Foundation Board Member Institute of Government Business Analysis & Process Reengineering (IGBAPR)
Past Member Executive Committee Canberra Branch Australian Computer Society

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 article on Eugeroics

Wake Up, Little Susie - Can we sleep less? By David Plotz: "The military is enthralled with the possibility of doing away with shut-eye. The supersecret Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investigating drugs that would keep soldiers awake for a week. The Air Force prescribes 'go pills'—small doses of the amphetamine Dexedrine—to pep up long-haul pilots. (But hopped-up pilots may be dangerous: The American pilots who accidentally bombed and killed Canadian soldiers last spring were taking go pills.)

Avoiding sleep for a week might be necessary in an extreme situation like war, but the run-of-the-mill, office-working, wannabe Superman requires something different. We don't want a pill that will keep us Exceling and Power Pointing for three days straight. We just want something that makes us feel alert through an entire normal day—a drug that makes us feel as lively for the 18-hour-day we have to live as for the 16-hour-day we ought to live.

Hence my rendezvous with modafinil. The drug, made by Cephalon, is marketed under the creepy, pharma-Orwellian name Provigil. The FDA approved it in 1998 to treat narcolepsy, but it is starting to have a underground life as a pick-me-up for the routinely sleep-deprived. The military has tested it heavily, particularly on pilots."

those involved volunteers who were subjected to 60 hours of sleep deprivation. During their continued wakefulness, their vigilance was assessed using questionnaires, visual scales and sleep latency tests. The subjects received either 200 mg Modafinil or a placebo every 8 hours. The Modafinil group sustained a satisfactory level of vigilance with an absence of sleep episodes, unlike the placebo group who gradually declined and slipped into 'micro-sleep' episodes, (as one might expect when awake for longer than 24 hours). Another study conducted over 3 years discovered that Modafinil reduced drowsiness in 83% of hypersomniac patients and 71% of narcoleptics. Modafinil did not produce side effects, disturb night sleep, or promote drug dependence."


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