Caution, May Backfire: Neuroscientists’ Open Letter To DIY Brain Hackers

For years now, popular publications like Wired and The Economist have chronicled the exploits of “brain hackers” — do-it-yourself-ers who use electrical gadgets to zap their scalps in hopes of benefits ranging from improved math skills to relief from depression.Now, apparently for the first time, a group of academic scientists who research electrical brain stimulation have organized to say publicly: Hey, maybe not such a good idea to try this at home.The warning comes in an open letter in the journal Annals of Neurology, signed by 39 researchers. It lays out several concerns, including unknown effects, both immediate and long term, and the possibility that a zapping session may produce an effect exactly the opposite of what’s intended.I spoke with the letter’s co-author, Dr. Michael Fox, a brain-stimulation specialist at Harvard…


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