Wearable brain devices sold with questionable claims (Computer World):
“Wearable ‘neurotechnology’ devices have in recent years hit the mainstream market; pitched to consumers as a way to improve memory and attention, boost brain fitness and control games and objects with the power of the mind.
An analysis of commercially available wearable ‘neurodevices’ published this week in journal Neuron has cast doubt on whether their makers can back up such claims.
A team of researchers at University of British Columbia in Vancouver identified 41 devices for sale, of which 22 were recording devices and 19 stimulating devices … For 33 of the 41 devices the makers linked to research or resources that further explained the claim, but for only eight devices was this relevant peer-reviewed research. The remainder typical linked to a paper covering the scientific concepts behind EEG devices in general, rather than the one being sold.
Illes and her team also expressed fears about the use of data from devices able to read brain activity.
“How are these data used, and who has access to them? These are things we don’t know. We should be asking these questions,” she said.
- Abstract: The wearable neurotechnology market targets consumers with promises of cognitive benefit and personal wellness. Scientific evidence is essential to substantiate claims about utility, safety, and efficacy and for informed choice and public trust.
The Study in Context:
- Bioethicists call for stronger oversight of direct-to-consumer neurotechnologies
- Guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tdcs) for depression
- FDA clears first CBT-based digital therapeutic to treat substance abuse disorders
- Important insights on the growing home use of tDCS brain stimulation
- 10 Neurotechnologies About to Transform Brain Enhancement and Brain Health