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Biotech

Brain Stimulation For Entertainment? 88

An anonymous reader writes: Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used for years to diagnose and treat neural disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer's, and depression. Soon the medical technique could be applied to virtual reality and entertainment. Neuroscientist Jeffrey Zacks writes, "it's quite likely that some kind of electromagnetic brain stimulation for entertainment will become practical in the not-too-distant future." Imagine an interactive movie where special effects are enhanced by zapping parts of the brain from outside to make the action more vivid. Before brain stimulation makes it to the masses, however, it has plenty of technical and safety hurdles to overcome.
The Military

Brain Will Be Battlefield of the Future, Warns US 257

Anti-Globalism sends this except from the Guardian: "In a report commissioned by the Defense Intelligence Agency, leading scientists were asked to examine how a greater understanding of the brain over the next 20 years is likely to drive the development of new medicines and technologies. They found several areas in which progress could have a profound impact, including behaviour-altering drugs, scanners that can interpret a person's state of mind and devices capable of boosting senses such as hearing and vision. ...The report highlights one electronic technique, called transcranial direct current stimulation, which involves using electrical pulses to interfere with the firing of neurons in the brain and has been shown to delay a person's ability to tell a lie."
Biotech

Happiness Is A Warm Electrode 199

sufijazz writes "A story by Gregory Mone on the Popular Science website talks about trials to use deep brain stimulation to cure chronic depression. It's a deeper exploration of the 'brain pacemaker' discussed here on the site before, and a practical application of research discussed even earlier. Why the pulses affect mood is still unclear, but scientists believe that they may facilitate chemical communication between brain cells, possibly by forcing ions through nerve fibers called axons. In turn, this may trigger the release of mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. Similar trials are being conducted in other places. Exact numbers are hard to ascertain, but it's estimated that fewer than 50 patients in North America are walking around with wires in their brain."

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