Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Harnessing innovative neurotechnologies to provide better urgent care at Banner Health

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For Ban­ner Health, one of the largest non-prof­it health sys­tem in the Unit­ed States, find­ing ways to make health care eas­i­er and bet­ter for our patients is at the root of every­thing we do. That’s why we are mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant invest­ments into the dig­i­tal health and neu­rotech space, try­ing to answer some com­mon pain points.

Let me give you an exam­ple. Read the rest of this entry »

Next: Measuring the impact of space flight on cognitive performance and brain fitness

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The flight that brings space weight­less­ness to Earth (BBC Future):

Five, four, three, two, one…”

Not many air­craft cap­tains give their pas­sen­gers a rock­et launch-style count­down before take-off, but this is no ordi­nary plane. For starters, every­one on board, apart from the crew, is a sci­en­tist and has passed a full med­ical check – includ­ing a heart assess­ment. This is not a trip for ner­vous fliers Read the rest of this entry »

Ethical issues raised around deep brain stimulation (DBS) research

Researchers grap­ple with the ethics of test­ing brain implants (Sci­ence):

In 2003, neu­rol­o­gist Helen May­berg of Emory Uni­ver­si­ty in Atlanta began to test a bold, exper­i­men­tal treat­ment for peo­ple with severe depres­sion, which involved implant­i­ng met­al elec­trodes deep in the brain in a region called area 25. The ini­tial data were promis­ing; even­tu­al­ly, they con­vinced a device com­pa­ny, St. Jude Med­ical in Saint Paul, to spon­sor a 200-per­son clin­i­cal tri­al dubbed BROADEN.

This month, how­ev­er, Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Brain stimulation can work–if properly timed

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Elec­tri­cal Stim­u­la­tion To Boost Mem­o­ry: Maybe It’s All In The Tim­ing (NPR):

Peo­ple with a brain injury or demen­tia often strug­gle to remem­ber sim­ple things, like names or places. In research pub­lished Thurs­day in the jour­nal Cur­rent Biol­o­gy, sci­en­tists have shown it may be pos­si­ble to improve this sort of mem­o­ry using tiny puls­es of elec­tric­i­ty — if they’re prop­er­ly timed Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

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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