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Cognitive enhancement at the edge: The US Navy tests neuro-priming and other non-pharmacological aids to boost cognition and performance

Super SEALs: Elite Units Pur­sue Brain-Stim­u­lat­ing Tech­nolo­gies (Military.com):

At a con­fer­ence near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in Feb­ru­ary, the com­man­der of all Navy spe­cial oper­a­tions units made an unusu­al request to indus­try: Devel­op and demon­strate tech­nolo­gies that offer “cog­ni­tive enhance­ment” capa­bil­i­ties to boost his elite forces’ men­tal and phys­i­cal per­for­mance…he has his eye on a num­ber of tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal aids. But the results of one break­through involv­ing the direct appli­ca­tion of elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion to the brain have par­tic­u­lar­ly caught his eye.

Ear­li­er this year, Naval Spe­cial War­fare units, work­ing with DIUx, began a spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive enhance­ment project with a small group of vol­un­teers to test and eval­u­ate achiev­ing high­er per­for­mance through the use of neu­ro-stim­u­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy,” Capt. Jason Sala­ta, a spokesman for the com­mand, said in a state­ment…

The com­pa­ny that makes the brain-stim­u­lat­ing device — a head­set that could be mis­tak­en for a pair of Beats by Dre head­phones — is Halo Neuroscience…Although some experts have warned that the full long-term side effects of using neu­ro-prim­ing to improve per­for­mance may not be known, Wingeier said lab tests have repeat­ed­ly proven that the prod­uct, which is com­mer­cial­ly avail­able in a sport con­fig­u­ra­tion, is safe.

The most use­ful proven per­for­mance aids are much low­er-tech than tran­scra­nial direct-cur­rent brain stim­u­la­tion, Herr said. They include things such as per­for­mance nutri­tion, sup­ple­ments, legal stim­u­lants such as caf­feine, and even med­i­ta­tion, which has been proven to improve focus and atten­tion and decrease the effects of not get­ting enough sleep.

In addi­tion to neu­ro-prim­ing, Herr said tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing appli­ca­tion of light fre­quen­cies and bio­met­ric feed­back, have been shown to boost per­for­mance and cog­ni­tion.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Peak Performance, Technology

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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