Sheffield Café Scientifique

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"Faster, Fitter, Happier. A Pill for everything?"

Monday 03 December 2007Dr Jim Thomas, Snr LecturerDept of Chemistry,
University of Sheffield
"Faster, Fitter, Happier. A Pill for everything?"
This month's event is about the fine line between drugs that cure illness, and drugs that modify or enhance human behaviour.
Pictures of drugs
"While chemists are developing increasingly sophisticated techniques to create new molecules, molecular biologists are rapidly delineating the chemical basis of many biological processes. Together, these discoveries are leading to new treatments for a variety of complaints and diseases ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to cancer. And as Prozac, Viagra illustrate, it is also producing new drugs that can modulate human behaviour. In the world of sport, this work has led to increasingly sophisticated, but mostly illegal, performance enhancers. These advances lead to two questions: when and why do these modulations and enhancements of human capabilities become unacceptable and is normal human experience becoming medicalized?

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