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Do-It-Yourself Brain Stimulation Has Scientists Worried 311

Freshly Exhumed writes "Dave Siever always fancied himself as something of a musician, but also realized he did not necessarily sing or play in perfect key. Then he strapped on the electrodes of a device made by his Edmonton company, and zapped his brain's auditory cortex with a mild dose of electricity. The result, he claims, was a dramatic improvement in his ability to hear pitch, including the sour notes he produced himself. 'Now I tune everything and I practise my singing over and over and over again, because I'm more sensitive to it.' Mr. Siever was not under the supervision of a doctor or psychologist, and nor is he one himself. He is part of an extraordinary trend that has amateur enthusiasts excited, and some scientists deeply nervous: do-it-yourself brain stimulation." With studies suggesting that small doses of electricity can: increase your memory, help you learn new tasks, make you better at math, turn you into a sniper in minutes, and most importantly make the ugly seem attractive, we can expect a lot of brain zapping in the next few years.

Patient "Roused From Coma" By a Magnetic Therapy 123

missb writes "Could the gentle currents from a fluctuating magnetic field be used to reverse the effects of traumatic brain injury? New Scientist reports on a patient in the US who was in a coma-like state, but can now speak very simple words after being given transcranial magnetic stimulation. This is the first time TMS has been used as a therapy to try and rouse a patient out of a coma."

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.