‘Limitless’ brain power? Duke doctor says it’s 10 years away

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – What would you do if there was a magic pill that could help you conquer that to-do list or learn a second language as well as endless other possibilities? Would you take it?

In CBS’s show “Limitless,” the main character, Brian Finch, does. As a failed musician, Finch turns into a mastermind for the FBI after taking a pill called NZT.

Of course there’s no such thing as NZT, but for those of us looking to operate at a higher level of productivity, the answer may be at the hands of a doctor at Duke.

Dr. Murali Doraiswamy is an internationally recognized expert on brain mind health and successful aging. According to Doraiswamy, implantable chips, smart pills and devices that can zap your brain to wake up are 10 years away. But Doraiswamy says that’s not stopping some people from looking for a brain boost.

Many people are turning to Modafinil, a prescription used to treat narcolepsy, for that boost. Doraiswamy says studies show the pill does improve some aspects of your cognitive health by 5, 10 or 15 percent, but he doesn’t think it is much help.

“I’m not convinced if makes a difference in your daily life although students, pilots, execs in Silicon Valley are popping it like crazy,” said Doraiswamy.

The Duke doctor says there’s a better way to boost your brain power; it’s all about exercising the brain by learning a new game, practicing a different language or taking up a new hobby.

“Like a muscle, you can build up and change the wiring, so it’s important to challenge yourself. Do novel tasks and really push yourself,” Doraiswamy said.

He also suggests getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

So until the magic pill does become available -you’ll have to live vicariously through Brian Finch on the show “Limitless.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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