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Growing debate about the ethics and regulation of direct-to-consumer transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

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Accord­ing to the adver­tis­ing hype, you too can enjoy incred­i­ble neur­al and psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits in the com­fort of your own home by using a sim­ple elec­tri­cal device that offers tran­scra­nial direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion (tDCS). For instance, three dif­fer­ent mod­els of tDCS devices sold online claim to improve mood, increase cre­ativ­i­ty, enhance mem­o­ry, accel­er­ate learn­ing, and com­bat pain and depres­sion. For the low, low price of between $99 and $189.95, you get a com­pact hand­held device with easy-to-use con­trols and two elec­tri­cal leads that end in small sponges. These sponges are dipped into saline solu­tion to make them cur­rent-car­ry­ing elec­trodes, then placed against your head. The web­sites typ­i­cal­ly show the sponges locat­ed on either side of the fore­head, but point out that they need to be placed else­where on the skull to acti­vate dif­fer­ent parts of the brain, depend­ing on the desired out­come.

Wher­ev­er you place the sponges, when you switch on the unit, you’re pump­ing elec­tric cur­rent into your brain, although not very much.

 

» Keep read­ing arti­cle Can Zap­ping Your Brain Real­ly Make You Smarter? over at JSTOR Dai­ly.

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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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