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.
News in Context:
- Bioethicists call for stronger oversight of direct-to-consumer neurotechnologies
- Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation shows early promise to ameliorate depression, especially if combined with other therapies and dosage optimized
- tDCS coming to an Equinox gym near you: Good, Bad or Depends?
- Insights on the growing home use of tDCS brain stimulation: older-than-expected users, positive self-reported results for treatment of depression but negative for self-enhancement, and a couple areas of concern (severe burns, frequency)