Why tDCS should not be used in military and security services

October 30, 2013 in News Items, Research, tDCS News

tDCS army pilots

Do we want to take the risk of changing the brain processing in people who potentially cannot make autonomous decisions concerning the application of non-invasive brain stimulation?

This is the question that is being explored by Bernhard Sehm and Patrick Ragert of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany.

tDCS has great potential as a theurapeutic tool. Currently there are no long term studies of the effects of tDCS. Can a government expect healthy servicemen, who can offer little resistance to what is required of them,  to use this tool. Should tDCS at all be used for cognitive enhancement and how specific are the effects. tDCS has been described by one researcher as a blanket: pull on one side and a part of the brain is uncovered. What if tDCS upsets the normal balance and makes irreversible changes to the brain.

tDCS is currently being evaluated by the US army and DARPA as a potential tool to train snipers and drone pilots. Given how little we currently know, is it a valid proposition to promote these techniques in people who are responsible for their own lives as well as the lives of others?

Read more about it at Frontiers of Neuroscience.