I don’t think I would, but would you put yourself through this on the off chance it might increase your intelligence?
For a while now, thousands of people of the Baby Boomer generation, in order to achieve eternal life… well OK maybe not eternal, but a desire to live longer and healthier, have been zapping their brains with electrical currents!
Thousands of ‘em!
Apparently, it improves memory, focused attention, creativity and mental maths. To me, it just sounds mental! And dodgy! Many of the proponents of the method use their own DIY kits! Oooh! Is that brave or desperate? Some say it cures depression.
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So that answers the last question then!
It’s called tDCS (Trans-Cranial Direct Current Stimulation) and the idea is that a weak (I said weak – if you’re planning to try this at home!) current passing through the brain, changes the electrical potential of the nerve cell membranes.
I’m sure it does!
But do we actually know what else it’s doing? Long-term?
Anyway, it seems it makes nerve pathways, more or less likely to fire.
Russian Roulette, anyone?
The studies so far are inconclusive.
“There doesn’t appear to be any significant or reliable effect of tDCS on blood flow, electrical, or evoked activity within the brain,” according to Jared Horvath at Melbourne Uni.
But they’re not going to let a little thing like that stop them!
The goings on at Oxford and London Universities should be providing us with a definitive answer very soon. They’re looking the effects of tDCS on behaviour…
The mind boggles!
So what will make us smarter?
Maybe letting other people have a go first!