Will consumer-led transcranial direct current stimulation revolutionize or hurt mental health?



Ther­a­py Borne on Elec­tri­cal Cur­rents (The New York Times):

…This is Thync, the lat­est in tran­scra­nial direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion, or tDCS. The man­u­fac­tur­er says the device, to come out lat­er this year, can alter the user’s mood in min­utes via elec­tric cur­rent…until recent­ly, it was most­ly hob­by­ists –nine-volt bat­ter­ies stuck to their heads — who exper­i­ment­ed with tDCS as a means of improv­ing con­cen­tra­tion, ver­bal and com­pu­ta­tion abil­i­ties, and cre­ativ­i­ty. But in the last few years, sev­er­al com­pa­nies have intro­duced slick con­sumer devices, among them Foc.us, whose head­set and con­troller cost $298, and The Brain Sim­u­la­tor, whose advanced starter kit costs $150…

If Thync does work, some men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als wor­ry it could dis­tract users from devel­op­ing their own cop­ing skills.”

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  1. Howard Ellison on May 18, 2015 at 9:39

    You can be sure prices will con­tin­ue to fall in line with pop­u­lar uptake, par­tic­u­lar­ly among stu­dents seek­ing to sharp­en their study. There’s only a few dimes worth of parts in the sim­pler DC devices, eas­i­ly assem­bled in any col­lege physics dept or on the kitchen table.

    Noth­ing new in the tech­nique of course. I recall writ­ing a cap­tion sto­ry decades ago about a spright­ly Major Her­schell, aged 90, who dai­ly ran a met­al comb through his sparse hair, with a bat­tery wired between it and a clip on his big toe.
    He looked great — though I nev­er saw his feet.

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