Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SHOCK TREATMENTS: Can off-the-shelf brain zappers improve your life?

    More to the point, could they enhance your gaming awesomeness?
Your brain is not a plaything, you crazy, reckless young lady!
     (august 2014) Oh great: Cool, clever marketers are using data about transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) -- which passes small electrical currents directly onto the scalp and theoretically stimulates the nerve cells in the brain -- to entice gamers, and whomever else they can think of, to buy their cute, futuristic-looking gadgets ((
    Since they are not making medical claims (in their opinion, anyway), the are not subject to regulatory oversight. One of their ads exclaims:  "Can you learn 20-40 percent quicker, reduce pain, feel better, increase energy or reduce stress with tDCS? Research studies say, YES!" (Don't these sound like medical claims to you?) Studies also indicate you could mess up your precious, incredibly complex and beautiful minds, you fools!
See -- you just press the button, and see what happens. Totally
 interesting -- unless you destroy your memories or become incontinent!

    "You can devise your own battery-pack shocker from consumer goods at Radio Shack for about $20, according to Greg Miller at Wired. He details how DIYers have embraced the technology, spreading online advice, subreddits for trading information and how-to videos about delivering zaps at home in a recent New York Times article (( 
     This is all getting way out of hand, people. We really should find something better to screw around with than our brains. There is plenty of other "Weird Science" to keep us occupied in a crazy, rebellious, hopefully disruptive way. We can be saboteurs and intense, Jackass-style party people without giving ourselves lobotomies or haunting delusions.

A scene from 1980s "Weird Science." Not fun at all, except for the Oingo Boingo soundtrack.
     Even the top researchers worldwide admit they have no idea how neurons work, or which ones do what. Read all about it:
    In the meantime, if you discover the spot that makes you "don't worry -- be happy," please drop me an email.