Adderall, and placebo testing..

I’ve been experimenting with Adderall for a few months as a nootropic. Mostly the results have been interesting.

Specifically I would say that Peregrine would not exist without Adderall but I think it was the combination of Adderall and caffeine as this put me in a manic phase and I ended up being able to have INTENSE focus for months at a time.

Once cycling off the caffeine I think I fell out of this manic mode and things fell back into perspective.  I ended up being able to concentrate on multiple areas instead of just fixating on one main passion.

So now the problem is whether I’m actually benefiting from Adderall or whether it’s placebo effect.

This may be the case as “Adderall’s perceived and actual effects on healthy people’s cognition”. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA is describe as:

“In a recent study at Dr. Martha Farah’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers have added a new layer to the “smart pill” conversation. Adderall, they’ve found, makes you think you’re doing better than you actually are….Those subjects who had been given Adderall were significantly more likely to report that the pill had caused them to do a better job….But the results of the new University of Pennsylvania study, funded by the U.S. Navy and not yet published but presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference last month, are consistent with much of the existing research. As a group, no overall statistically significant improvement or impairment was seen as a result of taking Adderall. The research team tested 47 subjects, all in their 20s, all without a diagnosis of ADHD, on a variety of cognitive functions, from working memory—how much information they could keep in mind and manipulate—to raw intelligence, to memories for specific events and faces. Each subject was tested both while on Adderall and on a placebo; in each condition, the subjects didn’t know which kind of pill they were receiving. The researchers did come up with one significant finding. The last question they asked their subjects was: “How and how much did the pill influence your performance on today’s tests?” Those subjects who had been given Adderall were significantly more likely to report that the pill had caused them to do a better job on the tasks they’d been given, even though their performance did not show an improvement over that of those who had taken the placebo. According to Irena Ilieva, the Ph.D. candidate who led the research team, it’s the first time since the 1960s that a study on the effects of amphetamine, a close cousin of Adderall, has asked how subjects perceive the effect of the drug on their performance.”

So I think my next step is to talk to my doctor about this to see what he thinks.  

However, I’m pretty certain that I would see more of an advantage from polyphasic sleep and the Adderall seems to conflict with the polyphasic as it prevents me from really getting efficient sleep.

I think that the next time I’m on Adderall that I’m going to perform a more rigorous double blinded test and have some objective measure of my performance.

I’ve been playing with Lumosity and performing some mild A/B testing on sleep to see how well I perform the next morning.

A game where I measure my reading ability while I was blinded from the Adderall would be interesting.

A ‘reader’ application which took wikipedia text and asked me questions after reading for 5 minutes (to measure retention) as well as total speed and throughput would help here.

It would have to exist though – I don’t have the time to build it.

But without the objective analysis I’m hesitant to continue down this path as I have non-scientific data backing this conclusion.

The real question is whether one can REALLY double blind themselves to Adderall as the initial affects as a stimulant can be powerful.  

It would be like double blinding yourself to 200mg of caffeine.  Once it hits you it’s pretty obvious.  But if you have an objective analysis it would be hard to lie to yourself.



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