Human Enhancement

Expert study (2009-2012)


Opportunities and risks of Human Enhancement

 Provided it is a question of healing diseases or maintaining health, appropriate measures are accepted in the form of therapy or prevention. Drugs that are used for this purpose are tested for effectiveness. The situation is different when drugs or other active substances are used to improve the performance of healthy people: this is controversial. There are, certainly, great expectations regarding future applications; but at present there is little reliable information about the extent to which Human Enhancement through medicinal products or other substances actually affects healthy people. There is also the risk of side effects and a certain potential for dependency with the uncontrolled taking of such substances.

Why a TA-SWISS study on this subject?

There is considerable interest in Human Enhancement, as coverage of the subject in the media and the demand for corresponding products show. In healthy people, however, evidence of their efficacy has so far only been established in experimental, often extreme situations. On the basis of current research findings, there should be an assessment of whether there are already applications that can also be of value in everyday life, what risks are associated with them and what can be expected for the future with respect to this.

Wissenswertes – pour en savoir plus – saperne di più – learn more

Thorsten Galert: Das optimierte Gehirn
Technologiefolgenabschätzung – Theorie und Praxis, Vol. 19, Nr. 1, April 2010, S. 67-70

Katrin Gerlinger: Gendoping – Fiktion oder Realität?
TAB-Brief Nr. 36, Dezember 2009, S. 16-17 

Arnold Sauter: Pharmazeutisches Gehirntuning
Technologiefolgenabschätzung – Theorie und Praxis, Vol. 18, Nr. 3, Dezember 2009, S. 97-99

Steffen Rosahl: Mehr als normal – verstehen wir die Enhancement-Debatte?
Technologiefolgenabschätzung – Theorie und Praxis, Vol. 18, Nr. 2, September 2009, S. 13-20  

Arnold Sauter: Leistungsfähiger durch Medikamente?
TAB-Brief Nr. 35, Juni 2009; S. 28-31


Project supported by

  • Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS
  • Swiss Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
  • National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics NEK
  • Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences SAGW
  • Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences SAMS

Project mandataries

  • Dr Anne Eckhardt, risicare GmbH, Zurich (Project Manager)
  • Michèle Marti, risicare GmbH, Zurich
  • Dr Juliane Neuss Münzel, risicare GmbH, Zurich

Supervisory group

  • Prof. Dr Oreste Ghisalba, Ghisalba Life Sciences GmbH, Reinach; TA-SWISS Steering Committee (chairman of the supervisory group)
  • Prof. Dr Nikola Biller-Andorno, Institute of Biomedical Ethics, University of Zurich
  • Nadja Birbaumer, Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences SAGW, Bern
  • Dr Martin Büechi, Head of Fundamentals Section, Federal Office of Public Health FOPH, Bern
  • Rita Bürgi, Swiss Olympic Association, Ittigen
  • Prof. Dr Jacques Diezi, Pharmacology and toxicology, University of Lausanne
  • Prof. Dr Sabine Maasen, Head of Programme for Scientific Research, University of Basel;
    TA-SWISS Steering Committee
  • Dr Beat Ochnser, General Manager Sympany Group, Basel
  • Prof. Dr Francesco Panese, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lausanne
  • Michelle Salathé, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences SAMW, Basel
  • Jean-Félix Savary, Groupement romand d’étude des addictions GREA, Yverdon-les-Bains
  • Dr Dominik Schwarb, Department of Occupational Medicine, Suva, Lucerne
  • Prof. Dr Giatgen Spinas, Director, Clinic for Endocrinology and Diabetology, University Hospital Zurich; TA-SWISS Steering Committee
  • Dr. Jean-Daniel Strub, Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics NEK, Bern

TA-SWISS Project management

Dr Adrian Rüegsegger, TA-SWISS, E-Mail

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