Sacred Cows

The promise of the neurosciences

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7174.1728 (Published 19 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1728
  1. A M Daniels, consultant psychiatrist
  1. West Midlands Poisons Unit, City Hospital, Birmingham B18 7QH

    The dream of a conflict-free and completely harmonious existence is an old one, and from time to time schemes, which usually end in abuse or disaster, are proposed to bring it about.

    The latest shortcut to human perfection is through the neurosciences. The advances in these sciences have beyond doubt been dramatic and unprecedented, and in popular expositions are said to promise vast benefits for humankind. The technological wonders of functional magnetic resonance images have disarmed scepticism, let alone criticism. Hitherto intractable problems will be dissolved by the application of the right combination of sophisticated diagnosis and treatment, pharmacological and otherwise.

    We now have drugs that are better than any available before. Do you want a new and fuller personality? Fluoxetine will do the job for you. It is capable not only of restoring your depressed mood to normal but also of …

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