Sports Outside the Beltway

Steroids for the Brain?

Michael Mandel asks a provocative question apropos the continuing controversy about Barry Bonds being on the Juice,

[W]ould we be quite so horrified, I wonder, if we were talking about “smart pills” or memory pills instead of steroids? Suppose that a pharmaceutical company was selling a pill that would improve your memory by 30% or your IQ by 30%, with the same sort of side effects as steroids. Would you be willing to take them for 3 or 5 critical years in your career? What if you knew that everyone else was taking them? What if you knew that the Chinese or the French were taking them? And would you be willing to give your kids these pills in, say, the junior year of high school, to increase the odds of getting a good score on the SAT?

A fair question. If, indeed, they came “with the same sort of side effects as steroids” I would not. Would I have in my teens and early 20s under that sort of pressure? Maybe.

Hat tip: Virginia Postrel

crosspost from OTB

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