For the current study, the researchers investigated a previously reported link between anticholinergics, both prescription strength and over-the-counter, and dementia by employing more rigorous methods than in the past. Specifically, the researchers conducted a longer follow-up of more than seven years and more accurate use assessment via pharmacy records, which included nonprescription choices. The team tracked nearly 3,500 seniors participating in a long-running study, the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a joint project of UW and the National Institute on Aging.
CHILDREN AND TEENS. Cognition-enhancing drugs could present unique risks to the developing brain. Several clinical trials found modafinil to be safe when given to children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the trials lasted only a few months, making it difficult to ascertain the potential effects of long-term use. In a 2014 review article examining the biochemical effects of modafinil and other common “smart drugs,” researchers at the University of Delaware and Drexel University raised concerns that the use of these drugs could affect the developing brain's ability to adapt to new situations and might increase the risk for addictive behaviors.