Using a weak electric current in an attempt to boost brainpower or treat conditions has become popular among scientists and do-it-yourselfers, but a new University of North Carolina School of Medicine study shows that using the most common form of electric brain stimulation had a statistically significant detrimental effect on IQ scores.
…The tDCS boom started in 2000, when German scientists published a paper showing that tDCS could change the excitability of neurons in the motor cortex – the brain region that controls voluntary body movement. Since then, there’s been an explosion of tDCS studies to try to make neurons more active or less active and therefore change outcomes for a variety of brain functions, such as working memory and cognitive acuity, and for illnesses, such as depression and schizophrenia.
…Frohlich stressed that the scientific community should be careful not to create simplistic storylines about tDCS being a ‘magic pill’ for many brain-related conditions. “There could be dangerous consequences, especially if tDCS is used daily,” he said. “Ours was an acute study. We don’t know what the long-term effects are. There is so much more we need to understand before tDCS is ready for home use without medical supervision”
I’m not really surprised. I tend to be skeptical of all kinds of “magic pill” solutions.