Your Brain on Vodka, Dope, Benadryl and More

A group of neuroscientists are using new technology to understand how the brain performs under the influence of drugs

Your Brain on Drugs

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Alan Gevins and his team at SAM Technology in San Francisco are nearing the end of a large study analyzing the effects of various drugs on cognitive performance. An editor at Technology Review recently visited their offices, and downed a stiff cocktail, to experience their work first-hand.

Gevins uses a combination of electroencephalography (EEG) and cognitive tests to measure the effects of alcohol, marijuana, caffeine and other drugs on attention, working memory, the ability to multi-task and more. His company intends to commercialize the testing technology they've developed, hoping that it could help doctors measure a person's cognitive decline, or even adjust prescriptions to keep side effects at a minimum.