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Can students improve their grades by taking ‘smart drug’ Adderall?

Taking a common drug used to treat Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may improve the test scores of students, new research suggests.

ADHD is a disorder that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors.

Adderall, growing popular as a so-called ‘smart drug’, helped to boost memory and attention in a small trial.

But researchers said it works only as a placebo effect – and believing anything may help could trigger similar results.

University of Alabama, Birmingham, scientists were behind the findings, reported in New Scientist.

How was the study carried out? Some 32 participants were involved in the study, which was published in the journal Alcohol and Drug Dependence.

All were aged between 19 and 30 and didn’t have ADHD. They took a series of cognitive tests four times.

In two of the trials they were given 10mg of Adderall – known to be addictive and, in rare cases, can cause death by jump-starting the cardiovascular system.

A placebo was used in the other experiments, the researchers said. To test the placebo effect, in each of the two trials for the treatments, they were told one was a real medication and the other a placebo.

Parents try everything to try and get their children into the best universities.
But research in March suggested there’s no need to hire a private tutor to boost their youngster’s studies.

Instead, sending them horse-riding could make them more intelligent and perform better at school, scientists claim. While on the saddle, vibrations made by the animal activate the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Known as the sympathetic nervous system, the effects were found to improve children’s cognitive ability in the Japanese study. Those in the Adderall group performed better on two tests in regards to attention and memory.

However, the researchers were quick to point out the largest effect was from just believing they were taking a medication.

She told New Scientist: “Expectation seemed to have more of an effect on objective performance than the actual medication state.”

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