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Wouldn't it be nice if you could just take a pill and become smarter, stronger and faster? Science has brought us a lot of advances, but here are a few enhancements we've yet to see.
A pill to make you smarterSlide 2 of 13
A pill to make you smarter
The fantasy of popping a pill and becoming a modern-day Einstein is dramatized in the 2011 movie "Limitless," in which a man takes a memory-enhancing drug and becomes a genius. Sounds like a great way to save yourself hours of studying, but science just hasn't come up with a way to boost our brainpower like that.
Which is not to say they haven't tried. Memory-enhancing drugs are a major area of research, given the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Scientists are beginning to discover molecules in rodent brains that play a role in enhancing and blocking memories, but how this would work in humans is anyone's guess.
Some college students already use black-market attention deficit disorder drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall to power study cramming sessions, but those drugs have side effects, including heart problems and dependency, and they may not do much to boost brainpower anyway. Besides, the mind is a well-oiled machine, Alcino Silva, a memory researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, told LiveScience in March 2011.
"Our biological systems are the results of finely balanced mechanisms," Silva said. "If you muck with them, it's at your own peril."Slide 3 of 13
A pill to make you smallSlide 4 of 13
A pill to make you small
Weight-loss drugs are likely one of the most lucrative nonexistent "magic bullets" out there. According to a 2011 report by Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., the weight-loss industry (which includes meal services, diet pills and plans and some medically supervised programs) was worth $60.9 billion in the U.S. in 2010. Many supposed weight-loss drugs are sold as supplements and aren't FDA-approved, though the agency has warned that some are tainted and potentially toxic.
Another problem with weight-loss supplements? They don't really work in the long run. And many, like a fad that involves eating 500 calories a day and taking injections with a drug made from the urine of pregnant women, can be dangerous.
Even the most effective anti-obesity treatment we have, bariatric surgery, requires major commitment and lifestyle change. So far, there's no effortless, side-effect-free way to shed pounds.Slide 5 of 13
Male "enhancement"Slide 6 of 13
There wouldn't be so much spam about it if men weren't looking for a way to extend what nature gave them. Penis enlargement is a big business, with plenty of hucksters shilling pills supposedly capable of providing more size.
Unfortunately, penis-enlarging pills just don't work. The one method that does show some results, mechanical traction, requires a bit more commitment than downing a tablet. Some studies have shown that penis stretchers, worn six hours a day for four months, can add 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) of length to the sex organ.
Thing is, most men don't need this magic bullet. The vast majority of men seeking information on larger penises aren't in the abnormally small range. More often, they've internalized messages from pornography and media that bigger is better.Slide 7 of 13
A never-go-bald hair tonicSlide 8 of 13