eric at k3na.org
Wed Dec 5 14:52:48 EST 2001
A day or two ago someone mentioned that a US television network had done a brief story on modafinil, a drug that appears to
improve alertness during prolonged periods without sleep.
I had just read a much more detailed articled about modafinil in "The New Yorker" magazine of 2001 December 3, beginning on page
52. (This is a classic case of US copy-cat feature journalism, by the way. Someone does an interesting story and other media pick
up on it immediately thereafter.) I am not a medical specialist, but the article's description of tests by the military (pilots on
very long missions, for example) and with narcoleptics certainly seemed very promising. The results appear to match requirements of
those of us who aspire to operate a complete 48-hour contest in a fully alert state.
I would be interested to hear from medical professionals who can evaluate the more technical research reports (if any) that have
been published... could comment constructively on the suitability of this drug for contesting... and could point out risks.
-- Eric R3/K3NA
p.s.: I now expect a lengthy thread of messages containing at least the following points:
-- drugs provide an unfair advantage to those who can acquire them and care to use them.
-- the introduction of drugs into contests is a continuation of the 'horrible' trends set by packet and SO2R.
-- drugs should be banned.
-- the need for drug testing of winners.
-- the best and most highly-respected ops do not need drugs.
-- drugs are not prohibited by the rules, and anything which is not explicitly prohibited is OK.
-- the rules are the rules, and anything which is not explicitly permitted is not OK.
-- caffeine is a drug, and contesters have been using it without limitation since the dawn of contesting and even the dawn of ham
-- contesting should be on par with other Olympic sports and meet Olympic standards of avoiding drug-enhanced performance.
-- the Olympic banned substance list includes caffeine, as well as several other common stimulants found in, for example, cold
and flu medications [to offset drowsiness].
-- alcohol is a drug and is used in contests like Field Day.
-- Field Day is not a contest.
-- alcohol is not a performance-enhancing drug.
-- operators who use drugs should be in a separate class, or annotated in the results with an asterisk*.
-- this annotation would be inconsistent with past results, where some operators were know to have used certain "recreational
chemicals" as stimulants to fight sleep or improve the illusion of performance, and whose results were never annotated with *.
-- that contesting is its own drug.
Having now sprinkled gasoline liberally around the reflector's landscape, I wonder who will throw the first burning match?
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