Mar 28, 2016

Experts wary of electrical brain stimulation at home

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience


Researchers are testing mild electrical stimulation to improve brain function and mental health, but warn do-it-yourselfers to be wary of treating themselves with models available online.

Dr. Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, director of the Non-Invasive Neurostimulation Therapies (NINET) Lab at the University of B.C., is starting to lend devices for home use to people with Parkinson’s disease and depression that will deliver a weak electrical current through electrodes placed on their temples.

The machines in his experiments can’t be adjusted above two milliamps — similar to the power created by two AA batteries. In contrast, some unregulated brain stimulators sold online can deliver about 10 times that amount of current, something he calls “worrisome.” It is an amount of electricity still small enough that users might not notice an immediate effect — or danger.

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