Brain zapping may be a new type of snake oil. But it might also work—in some instances

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
photo on at
Image: Oxford

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.

As is so often the case in science, more work is needed to fully understand any cognitive benefits from tDCS. In 2015, a review of dozens of trials from different research groups, which exposed healthy adults to a tDCS session, showed no conclusive evidence of any effect in four cognitive categories. These are executive function, language, memory, and miscellaneous. Other research, however, suggests that tDCS can improve specific capabilities when correctly applied.

Related article:  Podcast: Is the ‘bliss gene’ real?

In the nineteenth century, entrepreneurs falsely sold “snake oil” elixirs as medical cure-alls. Today we need to separate neuro-snake oil from real neural healing and enhancement. We have the tools to do so. We should use them.

Read full, original post: Can Zapping Your Brain Really Make You Smarter?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Trending green and going great — Every state in the US seeing decreased cases of COVID

Infographic: Trending green and going great — Every state in the US seeing decreased cases of COVID

The U.S. averaged fewer than 40,000 new cases per day over the past week. That’s a 21% improvement over the ...
a bee covered in pollen x

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists