tDCS, Neuroscientists' Open Letter To DIY Brain Hackers

post by morganism · 2016-07-12T19:37:37.085Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 9 comments

"The evidence of harm would be the evidence that you can hurt some cognitive functions with the same stimulation protocols that help another cognitive function. But they're completely correct that we don't have any evidence saying you're definitely hurting yourself. We do have evidence that you're definitely changing your brain."





I was aware of the variability of responses to stim, but not the paper that leveraging one brain function could impair another. This was also written to give the docs some info to help inform their patients.


I'll also tuck this in here, as i posted it to open thread.

Texting changes brain waves to new, previously unknown, pattern.

Makes me wonder if they were using spell check, or the new, shortend speak. By using constructed kernels, or images of words and concepts, it looks like machine learning retrieval or construction is already  being practiced here ?


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comment by gjm · 2016-07-13T10:28:32.612Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My apologies for the pedantry, but could you repair the title so it says "tDCS" instead of (as now) "tCDS"? (It's transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, not transcranial Direct-current Stimulation.)

comment by InquilineKea · 2016-07-13T23:35:02.702Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Does anyone know if these tradeoffs occur in organic brain variation between people? It almost seems that the g-factor is so strong as to overwhelm these tradeoffs without tDCS...

comment by Vaniver · 2016-07-12T20:38:40.922Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, "changes brain waves" and similar things are mostly worthless statements. We don't know enough about what our sensor readings mean to assign a direction to any particular change, and if you don't know if a change is good or bad and you don't expect things to stay the same... what can you say?

As for that you can harm function, well, obviously! For TDCS in particular, the idea is that you can either lower or raise the action potential in a particular region, and you would expect the effect of lowering to be roughly the opposite of the effect of raising. So it's no surprise that, say, changing the polarity could be very relevant. (The article makes the more subtle point that instead of just boosting overall function, one is likely making tradeoffs, but those sorts of tradeoffs represent increased mental flexibility that's overall good, because you can shape your mind to complement whatever task you're currently facing.)

comment by morganism · 2016-07-12T21:13:09.653Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The brain wave change they are describing has not been seen before, as i read it. Good or bad, it shows that doing a physical AND mental components together has produced something new and unstudied. there are some studies done on meditation, visualizations, and breath control too, and i must assume they haven't plotted the same feature there. I know there are also some papers coming out now showing some faults in MRI software and analysis that may undermine some of the results from those studies , but these are EEGs, so prob not as much an issue.

The tCDS paper seems to say you can choose either memory optimization , or flexibility and focus in thinking, but you won't get both....

comment by morganism · 2017-03-20T21:29:42.026Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Deep brain stimulation provides long-term relief from severe depressions. (wire-heading)

"Most of the patients respond to the therapy. The remarkable thing is that the effect is also lasting. Other forms of therapy often lose their effectiveness in the course of time. This makes deep brain stimulation a highly promising approach for people with previously non-treatable depression,"

The eight test subjects had suffered continuously for three to eleven years from a severe depression that responded neither to drugs nor to psychotherapy or treatments like electroconvulsive therapy. The doctors implanted razor-thin electrodes and stimulated a brain region that is involved in the perception of pleasure and is thus also important for motivation and quality of life."

comment by morganism · 2016-12-03T21:41:59.921Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't know there was an app for that

and a 5 year follow up on patients with depression. was some hardware problems too...

"All 5 patients continued to tolerate the therapy. The mean improvements from pre-implant baseline on the HRSD24 were [7 months] 54.9% (±37.7), [1 year] 41.2% (±36.6), [2 years] 53.8% (±21.7), and [5 years] 45% (±47). Three of 5 (60%) subjects continued to be in remission at 5 years. There were 5 serious adverse events: 1 electrode ‘paddle’ infection and 4 device malfunctions, all resulting in suicidal ideation and/or hospitalization."

Response to the Response to “Does tDCS Actually Deliver DC Stimulation?”

comment by morganism · 2016-12-01T09:08:06.551Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

just to deposit a link here, for consolidation

comment by morganism · 2016-08-27T22:49:52.474Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A reply to the case that tDCS doesn't have enough current to actually be affective.

Response to the Response: Does tDCS Actually Deliver DC Stimulation?


there is a journal for brain stim now

comment by metatroll · 2016-07-14T05:55:50.835Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

where's the open letter from decision theorists to rationality hackers

or from necroscientists to death hackers