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Now Where Did I Put Those Jumper Cables?

A recent Gizmodo article reported on how a mild electric current run through the brain may have enhancing cognitive effects. The mechanism in question is called transcranial direct current stimulation.

Now, running an electric current isn't anything terribly new. We've been using it in mental health treatment since the 1940's. Granted, we didn't really know what we were doing and how to regulate it back then, so we may have caused some permanent brain damage. But now that it's been studied extensively and is finely calibrated, it actually does quite well in treating things like medication and treatment resistant depression and some psychotic disorders.

The electric stimulation mentioned in this article is at a much lower level than that used in ECT. It has shown some cognitive benefits, enhancing learning; as well as some psychological benefits in the amelioration of certain psychiatric symptoms.

I can't say that I'm a fan of the article's subtle suggestion that you go out and make one of these yourself with a 9-volt battery though. I say give it a couple years and wait until you can buy it on a late-night infomercial for $19.99 with a slapchop.

This post originally appeared on Stuff Smart People Like. Subscribe to the Podcast.

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