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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Children get wiser: most refuse to pop 'smart pills'

Prateek Walia, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, February 06, 2013
First Published: 12:06 IST(6/2/2013) | Last Updated: 12:08 IST(6/2/2013)

With board exams approaching, students are adopting various measures to counter stress, but unlike previous years they are not resorting to smart pills that claim to enhance mental acuity.

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Medical stores across the tricity, which earlier used to witness a spurt in the sale of smart pills between January and March, have not seen the usual demand this year.

"Till last year, there was a huge demand for these pills. From January the sales used to pick up. However, we have not seen the same demand this year," said Jaswinder Chhabra, owner of a drugstore in Sector 37 here.

The pills are prescription drugs, yet they are available directly over the counter. A medical shop owner said that he never asked for prescription for these drugs, and that mainly students or their parents would demand these drugs.

"No medicine enhances your memory, it is just a myth. We encourage students to do brain stimulation exercises or use memory enhancing methods such as the association method and underlining main points, rather than taking such pills," says Dr Adarsh Kohli, a pshychologist at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

Dr SK Khanna, a private practitioner in Sector 22, said that in Ayurveda it was mentioned that a herb - Brahmi -- helped develop mental capacity, so Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) was used by children to enhance memory, especially during exams.

Vishal Kapoor, a Class-12 student at the government model school, Sector 10, said, "There will always be a temptation to go for these drugs, if I experience problems memorising my lessons."
Another Class-12 student at Shishu Niketan, Sector 22, Ashima Sharma, said, "I listen to music whenever I am stressed, but I would never take these pills."

Vivek High School principal PK Singh said, "To counter exam stress, our counsellors are easily accessible for students of all classes."

While private schools have their own counsellors, government schools take the help of non-governmental organizations.
 
"We take the help of NGOs to counsel our students, besides school teachers who talk to them before exams," said Ravi Raj Kaur, principal of government model senior secondary school, Sector 35.

"I would never encourage my son to take such pills. I concentrate on giving him a healthy diet and a good atmosphere at home. Besides, I give him almonds soaked in water every morning." Sushma Kapoor, mother of Vishal Kapoor

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