Neuroscientists Warn Against Unsupervised Direct Brain Stimulation

Who could have guessed that sticking DIY electrodes to your temples and flicking a switch to “ON” could end poorly? The thirty-nine scientists who got together and endorsed an open letter to the DIY brain-zapping community certainly did. Published in this month’s Annals of Neurology, the letter addresses the potential ill effects of transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. Seeing as it involves sticking wired electrode-pads to one’s head and sending low-current electricity to the brain from your couch, there are many. With claims to easing anxiety, depression, and insomnia, at-home tDCS kits are an appealing alternative to more extreme electroconvulsive therapy or medication. But the risks might outweigh the potential benefits, the scientists write. The specifics of how you use the product, including where you slap the electrodes on,…


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