Modafinil In The Media
Enter the word Modafinil into any internet search engine and you’re likely to return up to half a million hits, so there is absolutely no shortage of information about Modafinil in the media, even if it is a highly academic paper. Of course that number of internet hits will include websites more concerned with selling Modafinil, rather than offering what would, in the strictest sense of the word, be considered to be ‘media’ articles or information about this sleeping disorder drug. However, even modifying your search to a query for “Modafinil in the media” or “Modafinil articles” will still return to you around 100,000 responses; so we hope you’ll find this article useful.
Articles on Modafinil
Genuine media articles concerning Modafinil can broadly be split into two categories; those that relate to academic studies, be they from universities/colleges, professional bodies or the pharmaceutical industry and those more concerned with informing the public and canvassing public opinion - such as newspapers, radio, TV and indeed blogs. Rather than constantly referring to newspapers, radio, TV and blogs - I hope you’ll agree that we can simply refer to ‘the popular media’ as relating to any media publication that isn’t intended for an academic/research audience. After all such media outlets need to appeal to ‘the average public’, putting things in a way that is popular and easily assimilated by all, rather then the formal writing of academic/research papers.
Modafinil in the academic media
The range of academic articles about and related to Modafinil is truly awesome. Such academic papers aren’t restricted to purely medical or pharmaceutical institutions but also include sociological, psychological and even ones concerned with the media itself. Some of these academic papers go back to the early days of Modafinil, when it was only just starting to be commonly prescribed for sleeping disorders and investigated as a treatment for ADHD, such as “Medicalization and social control” by P. Conrad (1992) in the Annual Review of Sociology; this paper was updated by Conrad in 2007.
More recent papers on the subject include “Sleep, health and the dynamics of biomedicine”, published in Social Science & Medicine by T Moreira in 2006 and the excellent “Modafinil in the media: Metaphors, medicalization and the body” by Coveney, Nelich and Martin; for the Institute of Science and Society, University of Nottingham, UK, in 2008. As you will have read elsewhere, Modafinil has a history of being tested as a treatment for other illnesses and disorders other than sleep related ones. Of significant interest to students researching Modafinil as a cognitive enhancer, or to use the vernacular term ‘brain power booster’, is the work of Professor Barbara Sahakian in pharmacogenomics and neuroethics, researching the effects of Modafinil as a cognitive enhancer.
Modafinil in the popular media
Needless to say the treatment of sleeping disorders with Modafinil is not the sort of thing to set the popular media alight, no chance there of spinning some sort of sensationalist or indeed sleazy report on anything as mundane as that. After all they can’t try to raise the specter of mad scientists (aren’t all scientists portrayed as some type of madman like Dr Strangelove in the popular media) for someone offering a sleep cure to world! However, the thought that these ‘mad scientists’ might use Modafinil to boost the brain/learning power of students or the performance of athletes - well now they’ve got a story. The sad part about this is that the popular media in reporting such things invariably also try to persuade public opinion, rather than simply reporting the facts and then letting the public form its own opinions.
For example, 19th January 2003, CBC Sports ran a report headlined “Modafinil: THGs partner in crime?” - now if that’s not a loaded headline I don’t know what is. However, compare that to this article from CBS News on Kelli White in 2003: “Can Kelli White Keep Her Medals?”. Similarly, the otherwise usually respectable, Bloomberg ran this March 2009 article: “Narcolepsy pill used as smart drug may be addictive”. The article cites the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Journal of the American Medical Association as source material. The JAMA database does contain a research paper very fetchingly titled “Effects of Modafinil on Dopamine and Dopamine Transporters in the Male Human Brain” - based on a sample study group of “10 healthy volunteers”; shame on them, hardly a representative sample is it! However, and again, compare that article to this extract and then the full article from the New York Times: “Boosting Brain Stamina With Drugs”, in April 2009. Finally, to end on a truly positive note, I would recommend this excellent article from New Scientist in 2006, on the potential benefits to society of drugs like Modafinil enhancing not just our learning capabilities but simply our ability to keep going for longer periods at a time without suffering sleep deprivation, music to any students ears: “Get ready for 24-hour living”.