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Full Review
Brain Candy: Boost Your Brain Power with Vitamins, Supplements, Drugs, and Other Substances
by Theodore I. Lidsky & Jay S. Schneider
Book Reviews
Reviewed by Earth, 5/23/2005

Lidsky and Schneider provide a splash of cold water on the marketing-driven world of smart drugs. The book is organized into two major sections: introductory material and an alphabetically-organized reference section. The introduction is a readable, non-technical, and short overview of smart drugs and the problems of memory and age-related cognitive decline. The reference section has entries for the most common products sold as smart drugs. Each entry has a brief summary, an overview of the beneficial claims made for the product, the research that has been done on the product, a list of possible side effects and medical problems, an authorial take on how good the product is, and finally numeric ratings from 0 to 5 of Benefits and Risks.

Brain Candy’s tone stands in stark relief to many of the books and articles published about smart drugs by being skeptical and yet not entirely dismissive of claimed benefits. It is one of the most sober references for this class of psychoactives and generally finds the products somewhat lacking in benefits and higher in risks than the vendors and other books on the topic, such as Brain Boosters. It is a handy, concise guide to smart drugs that would be an excellent resource if each smart drug section had a set of citations and references for the research discussed. As it is, the lack of citations turn the book from an extremely useful resource into another in the large collection of unreferenced and unsupported resources on the topic of nootropics.

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