AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Neuroscience Researchers Caution Public About Hidden Risks of Self-administered Brain Stimulation

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Penn and Harvard researchers lead charge in warning “Do-it-yourself” users of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) seeking enhanced brain function of potential unintended results

tDCS is the application of electrical current to the brain. These currents are applied by electrodes that are placed on specific areas of the scalp to target certain areas of the brain to achieve a desired result, including an enhanced state of relaxation, energy, focus and creativity. Devices can be easily made from simple tools making them accessible to many individuals. “Published results of these studies might lead DIY tDCS users to believe that they can achieve the same results if they mimic the way stimulation is delivered in research studies. However, there are many reasons why this simply isn’t true,” said first author, Rachel Wurzman, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation at Penn. “It is important for people to understand why outcomes of tDCS can be unpredictable, because we know in some cases, that benefits that are seen after tDCS in certain mental abilities may come at the expense of others.” To read more, click here.

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