£500 electric shock machine can boost learning and memory - but scientists worry it could be misused.By Katie Silver
Dr Roi Cohen Kadosh, a neuroscientist, uses a high-tech system called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate precise regions of the brain with a tiny buzz of electric current. Direct current DC will jump air gaps and is more dangerous than AC just ask any electrician.
When he stimulates the parietal lobes, which are responsible for our skills in reading, writing and numeracy, he can boost mathematical skills. Yes the patient screams swearing language in mathimatical equations instead of just calling him a Quack
The electric current triggers the area to produce chemicals that cause brain cells to develop or change. This process — ‘neural plasticity’ — is essential to learning (our brains change structure when we take on new information). What have the bad reactions been and how many is there
When Dr Cohen Kadosh’s subjects had their parietal lobes stimulated for 30 minutes every day for a week, they were able to pick up maths skills through conventional lessons far more quickly and effectively than they could before.
‘It’s completely safe. Ha Ha Ha .The electric current is one thousand times lower than anything that could cause damage,’ he says.
Tests have shown that the subjects’ maths abilities remain boosted six months after the treatment. They carnt talk now or comunicate or know who you are. To someone as numerically illiterate as me, the prospect of growing a ‘maths brain’ is exciting. But Dr Cohen Kadosh’s work is at the vanguard of a medical revolution.
Already a number of home ‘brain-fixers’ are available to buy. These generally work in the same way as Cohen Kadosh’s machine and are sold on the web in the U.S. (though their effectiveness is doubtful). So what makes Cohen Kadosh's work any good?
Still the psychologist, writing in the journal Current Biology, warns against the potential dangers of the technology.
The researchers say: ‘When used within suggested guidelines, the acute safety risks (of seizures, for example) seem very low. There is a danger that it can be tried out ad hoc on adults and children and is — especially on vulnerable patient groups seeking help with serious and currently intractable developmental disorders. Disorders of the doctors choise.
He said not enough is known on side effects and there are no training programs for administering the device. Yet they do it anyway.
‘At best, this situation could result in the exploitation of vulnerable patients or parents for financial gain. It is all designed for long term financial game; at worst, it may risk long-term damage to the brain and exacerbate the disadvantage, potentially worsening other psychological functions. This is sooooo true
‘Like other types of atypical experience during sensitive periods, the stimulation of the wrong brain area might induce abnormal patterns of brain activity in this brain region and interconnected areas, and increase metabolic consumption in brain areas that are irrelevant to the specific psychological function. So true
‘Hence, research into the safety and potential hazards of TDCS in children is urgently needed.’ Criminal
‘If TDCS does enhance some abilities at a cost to others, then assessing its ethical permissibility will involve weighing its costs and benefits,’ he said
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2092704/500-electric-shock-machine-boost-learning-memory--scientists-worry-misused.html#ixzz1wX3x1UMK