Mobile Populism

The secret satoshi doesn’t want you to know

We live in an era where the wealth gap is steadily increasing. Cryptocurrency represents humanity’s best chance of closing it. It is astounding to consider that a cryptocurrency with a fair and balanced distribution scheme has not yet been conceptualized, given the deleterious effects of the wealth gap on our lives.

Project Oblio: Mobile Populism has been under construction since 2015 and is best explained and understood by reference to the EOS cryptocurrency.  The main difference between Oblio and EOS is that here, votes for block-producers are based on a potentially-anonymous and fluid biometric trust level.

 

 

EOS rate-limits transactions at the smart contract level, whereas Oblio limits them at the user-level. EOS votes based on wealth, Oblio requires a minimum biometric trust level for voters to take action. With Oblio, block producers can be voted in and out based on their personality, not on the quantity of tokens in their possession.

Cryptocurrency exchanges which rely primarily on automation with their wallets are the ones which pay the most in user fees. Nevertheless, these fees are unlikely to amount to exceed those of competing blockchains; automated transactions comprise ~99% of transactions anyway. With humans engaging in such a miniscule amount of transactions themselves, distinguishing between a person sending money to a friend, and a segment of artificial intelligent being put to work for a business, has become a challenge. Fortunately, we believe we can overcome that challenge.

The real secret Satoshi doesn’t want you to know? The slight catering towards CPUs (“one-CPU-one-vote”) is what causes blockchain fees, and prevents true adoption.  The same goes for any consensus algorithm relying on token-based wealth.

You’ll soon use the OBL (the abbreviation designation for the ‘Oblio’ coin) that you collect here to send payments to your friends and family at no additional cost. In fact, with Oblio, any smart contract which you want to access is well within the realm of being a feeless transaction.

Visit our airdrop for more.

Decentralized Neuroscience

de-mystifying neuroscience

An autonomous research organization is born from the open permissiveness of a blockchain. It breathes funding into neuroscience through a community-run token budget system. Its  legs juice-up the scientific method by publishing every step in the process, avoiding potholes of positivity bias and barriers to journal distribution. Its arms are vybuds, a dedicated research tool that doubles as really-cool music headphones.

 

Brains are not Computers.

Project Oblio is an open, permissionless community of neuroscientists dedicated to re-engineering the scientific method.  Join our discord.

Academic neuroscience can be vastly improved by delegating certain research experiments to a blockchain. Non-invasive neurostimulation research is one interesting field that suffers from fatal flaws when conducted in a laboratory, namely that experimenter bias and inconsistent techniques from lab to lab modify results. We’ve shown that neurostim can be used to automatically validate data in a decentralized way when combined with EEG/EMG.

What we’re building is effectively a decentralized, self-funding research organization. Neuroscientists can receive funding after submitting proposals for already-developed websites that make use of all the native features of a subject’s cell phone (Camera, Microphone, Etc). Eye-tracking and automatic tACS/EMG time-dependent injections validate that data is collected correctly.

In science today:

  •  Non-impactful results are not published. On Project Oblio, funding is provided and data is submitted regardless of whether or not a result shows statistical significance. All results are published by the very nature of a blockchain. Data is published as soon as it is collected.
  •  If an experiment appears to have identified a valuable feature within its first few hours of posting, another neuroscientist can immediately submit an experiment further examining a more particular feature that may be causing the result. This is orders of magnitude faster than waiting for an experiment to complete, journal reviews, replications, etc. It turns a 15-month process into something that can be further investigated as soon as data is made available.
  •  Although unlikely, there is a very real financial incentive for labs to exaggerate or misrepresent their work in order to continue to receive funding. The only solution is to make everything – from code, to data, to analyses – open-source, and auditable by everyone.

Project Oblio is an effort to engineer the most objective scientific method possible. It rewards neuroscientists based on their code, not their reputation. It analyses data in both the long-term and short-term to speed up biological research to the pace of modern society. Anyone can submit an experiment to our budget system to receive funding, and only be judged on the potential impacts of their paradigm’s open-source code. It completely obliterates the barrier to entry for neuroscience.

Our goal is to partner with universities and develop a peer-reviewed, open-source ASIC dedicated to tACS, multi-channel EEG, as well as high-quality music outputs.

We’re hiring. We’re seeking intellectual advisors and contributions from neuroscience universities across the world. Please explore our blog and consider becoming a representative for your university. You’ll receive compensation for running a full-node and experiment when the network launches, and you’ll be added to our private Discord chat dedicated to decentralized neuroscience research.  In order to run a successful crypto kickstarter on November 5th, we’re seeking peer-review and “idea-generators” like you to skeptically analyse our publications and provide valuable feedback on how we can make this something acceptable for use by universities and academics.

Currently we are a small team of Duke University, Columbia University, University of Pittsburgh, and Rutgers University neuroscience graduates. We’re looking to hold Skype calls for anyone who might be interested in contributing or learning more about Project Oblio in the coming weeks (see linked form above). If you are not interested, please send this site to someone who might be.

The stakes here cannot be higher. We are talking about one of the most fundamental yet poorly understood aspects of humanity. It is complacent for what human beings are capable of to ignore bleeding-edge encryption methods like homomorphic encryption and blockchain as a potential improvement for the scientific method and protecting PHI. LET’S BUILD IT.

tACS, vybuds, and more

Project Oblio’s hardware is a “brainwave miner”. It is a pair of bluetooth music headphones, with added features to provide and interpret value from the multi-billion dollar supercomputer between your ears. Its features include:

  • Neurostimulation for cognitive enhancement. While official research using vybuds over Project Oblio is still required, universities and research institutions have found that similar neurostimulation techniques can be used for:
    • Memory boosting while focusing and studying (~30% improvement)
    • Enhancing coordination and athletic-performance gains in specific tasks
    • Pain management
    • Alzheimer’s treatment
    • Dry eye treatment
    • Tinnitus (ear-ringing) treatment
    • Mood improvement (treatment of depression)
    • Just a general tool to increase neuroplasticity
  • EEG recording for decentralized neuroscience research
    • Earn cash or cryptocurrency for participating in university research. Typical experiments pay $10 to $50 an hour.
    • Earn cash or cryptocurrency for watching advertisements. Typical neuromarketing experiments pay $75 to $125 an hour.
    • Earn cash or cryptocurrency for participating in vybuds-specific tasks over the Project Oblio marketplace.  Typical rates TBD.
  • EMG recording for controlling your music by non-verbal commands.
    • A vybuds-only capability, we are working on giving you the ability to play, pause, and skip songs without having to use your hands or speak.
    • Such commands, when made open-source, may allow for a lot of other non-verbal communication between you and your phone.

A 3D-printable version of vybuds, including standardized circuitry and assembly, will be made open-source prior to release.

Most viewed posts (start here):

  1. BMI Biometrics: What do we know?
  2. Liveness detectable biometrics and cybersecurity
  3. BMI Biometrics: What don’t we know?
  4. Potential benefit of using tACS in boosting memory
  5. Reverse-engineering the brain

For details on how we can potentially improve on traditional cryptocurrency techniques through an experimental proof-of-cognition, proof-of-humanity, and proof-of-individual consensus protocol, see #2 above,  currency and also anonymous biometrics.  Information about our organization’s potential impact can be found in values.

Our software protocol is currently being developed. Track its progress at our github.

Our hardware protocol is currently being manufactured overseas (for bulk distribution). Learn more about our game-changing electrodes at the vybuds website. This is for an EMG/tACS/Music-Headphone device, not the custom ASIC.

Reminder: A 3D-printable version of vybuds, including standardized circuitry and assembly, will be made open-source prior to release.

If at all interested in what we’re building, subscribe on the right to be notified of new posts.

 

Homomorphic Encryption Vs. Multiparty Computation

Bleeding edge encryption techniques allow one to monetize their personal health information without sacrificing privacy.

Encryption:

Encryption is the conversion of information into a code unreadable for unauthorized users by the use of an algorithm. Encryption is important when you don’t want anyone else to have access to your private data, such as brainwave data, selfie video data, or personal health data. There are many ways to compute (do math on) the encrypted data without knowing whose information it is about out of which, two are: Homomorphic Encryption and Multiparty Computation.

Homomorphic encryption is a kind of encryption in which the data is converted into a ciphertext which can be later analysed and worked on as it was still in its original form. The ciphertext is an encrypted version of the input data. It is operated on and then decrypted to obtain the desired output. This encryption allows us to perform complex mathematical operations on encrypted and secured data. It transforms one data set into another without harming the relationship between elements of both sets.

Multiparty computation is used to evaluate the inputs of two or more parties while keeping their inputs hidden from each other. This is done when different parties wish to jointly compute a function to their inputs in such a way that there certain security properties are preserved.

In simpler term, encryption allows us to hide data in a way that appears meaningless to anyone except those who have access to the secret decryption key. 

 

PROTECTION OF DATA THROUGH HOMOMORPHIC ENCRYPTION:

There have been many attempts to secure genomic privacy of biologically researched data using cryptographic methods. Particularly, it has been suggested that the privacy can be protected through homomorphic encryption.

The math on brainwave data recorded, of secret participants, using EEG while watching TV commercials, can be done through homomorphic encryption without decrypting the data.

The companies that get the brainwave data, never want to reveal the identity of their participants, that is why they send the samples in an encrypted form, to the lab, where the computations are done using homomorphic encryption, and the predictions (results) are sent back, to the company, in the encrypted form; where only they can decrypt it back using decryption keys. In this way, the identity of the person is never disclosed. The data is encrypted, also because companies and labs are bound by regulations and participant’s agreements to handle his data confidentially.

PROTECTION OF DATA THROUGH MULTIPARTY COMPUTATION:

Multiparty computation can be implemented using different protocols, such as Secret Sharing, in which the data from each party is divided and computed on separately. Then after combining again, it provides the desired statistical results. Security in multiparty computation means that the players’ inputs remain secured (except for the results that are computed) and the results computed are correctly. The security is supposed to be preserved In the face of any sort of adversary. Intuitively, no party learns about any other party’s inputs.

All in all, computation of encrypted data is an interesting topic that explains how cryptography faces the hardest problem of protecting data in use. This is just an overall review about what these two methods of computation have to offer us. The past few years have seen the most significant advances in making the use of these two technologies on more wider-scale.

 

For more information, see the project at OpenMined.org

 

 

References

BUILDING SAFE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. (n.d.). Retrieved from open mined: https://www.openmined.org/

Computing Over Encrypted Data. (2017, may 29). Retrieved from Enigma: https://blog.enigma.co/computing-over-encrypted-data-d36621458447

homomorphic encryption. (n.d.). Retrieved from Search Security: https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/homomorphic-encryption

Homomorphic Encryption Market Size, Worldwide Analysis, Design Competition Strategies, Company Profile, Development Status, Opportunity Assessment and Industry Expansion Strategies 2027. (2018, june 7). Retrieved from 14 News: http://www.14news.com/story/38373250/homomorphic-encryption-market-size-worldwide-analysis-design-competition-strategies-company-profile-development-status-opportunity-assessment-and

Private predictive analysis on encrypted medical data. (2014, Aug). Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1532046414000884

Secure multi-party computation made simple. (2006, Feb 1). Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166218X05002428

 

 

What is neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing enables one to substantially profit off the multi-billion dollar super-computer between their ears.

Neuromarketing is the science about your customer’s minds. It includes the direct use of brain imaging, scanning or other brain activity measurement technology to predict the subject’s response towards specific products, packaging or any other marketing element. It is the application of neuroscience to marketing.

Every year, billions of dollars are being spent on advertising campaigns. But conventional techniques have failed to predict how a customer feels when he is exposed to an advertisement. Neuromarketing offers cutting edge methods to know how a customer’s brain actually works and what effect does marketing have on the consumers’ population.

Neuromarketing researchers believe that consumers sometimes make subconscious decisions in a split of second. They believe that consumer’s decision can be driven through changing their emotions.

How Neuromarketing Works:

Knowing how an advertisement captures a consumer’s attention is what neuromarketing is all about. Research data is gathered by using certain biometrics that include:

  1. Eye tracking: tracking eye movement to understand which part of the advertisement is most appealing to the viewer.
  2. Facial coding: Testing facial expressions to learn certain responses about a product or an advertisement.
  3. Skin response and electrodermal activity: measures sweat gland secretions and different levels of excitement and arousals.
  4. Electroencephalography (EEG): measures electrical activity in the brain which is linked with increased or reduced focus and/or excitement levels.

Use Of EEG in Neuromarketing:

EEG biosensors makes the neuromarketing research easy. This allows the researchers to record consumer’s response in the right place such as movie theatre, bars etc. The biosensors can be placed on the head that accurately measure the brain activity of the subject. The changes in the electrical activity of the brain determines the emotional response of the person being tested, also whether he is engaged in watching the advertisement or not at all focused.

EEG can also reveal that the consumer was very attentive during the first 30 seconds of the advertisement but lost interest in the last 30 seconds. This feedback, in, turn, could better help in making the last 30 seconds of the advertisement even more effective.

Earning Money by Watching Advertisements and Using EEG:

This has also become a popular way of making money. This simple yet very beneficial tool can be used as a source of earning by using EEG to record your brainwaves while watching TV commercials and advertisements at home. People get paid by different companies and brands for selling their brainwave data. The general price paid per brainwave recording is between $80 and $100 per hour.

Different companies recruit people and pay them for watching their advertisements and recording their brainwaves by using electroencephalogram scans. It records on a second-by-second basis regarding how people respond to the commercial.

Neuromarketing has helped marketers make engaging and effective commercials. This not just benefits the marketers but the customers as well in enhancing their experience with a brand or product long before they consider buying it. This field is gaining unbelievable popularity among marketing and advertising professionals and is growing day by day.

 

 

References

Making Ads That Whisper to the Brain. (2010, nov 13). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/business/14stream.html: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/business/14stream.html

Neuromarketing and EEG: Measuring Engagement in Advertising. (2018, june 14). Retrieved from NeuroSky: http://neurosky.com/2016/08/neuromarketing-and-eeg-measuring-engagement-in-advertising/

Neuromarketing: Marketers scan consumers’ brains to test their ads. (2015, nov 5). Retrieved from CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/neuromarketing-brainsights-1.3303384

Neuromarketing: The New Science of Consumer Behavior. (2011, jan 14). Retrieved from springer link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12115-010-9408-1

What is Neuromarketing? (n.d.). Retrieved from Neuromarketing: https://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/what-is-neuromarketing.htm

 

 

 

Enhancing focus

Can neurostimulation reliably enhance your focus in day-to-day activities?

Focus is about giving your full concentration to that one thing while saying no to all those things vying your attention. There is no shortage of distraction in this world, so to increase focus levels, there has been a significant interest in the techniques that can do so including transcranial electrical stimulation (tES).

Attentional disturbances lie at the core of many neurological and psychiatric disorders such as ADHD. That is why focus has primarily been taken into account for cognitive enhancement techniques that include video games, pharmacological stimulants and meditational training. The discovery of transcranial electrical current is another technique to the arsenal. It comprises of a weak current that is made to run through two electrodes placed on the skull that changes the excitability of the brain tissues under the electrodes.

A number of studies have been carried out that paired tasks that required focus and attention, with tES (mostly with transcranial direct current stimulation). We will discuss three important aspects of focus and attention here that have been most broadly been targeted to date.

  • Visual Searching
  • Spatial orientation
  • Sustained Attention

Researchers have reported some very promising effects of tDCS in each of these domains.

Visual Searching

The process of scanning the visual field is a common action which makes it an interesting target for cognitive enhancement. Different studies and experiments were performed to examine the results of transcranial electric current on the visual searching.

Visual search performance is supported by an extensive network of brain areas, centered on the right posterior parietal cortex and frontal eye field. Among an array of distracting objects, participants in visual search tasks had to look for a target item. The faster the reaction time in searching, the more efficient the visual search of the participant. The researchers found that anodal tDCS over the right parietal cortex may speed up visual search, while cathodal stimulation may slow it down.

Moreover, it was also found that learning to discover hidden objects fixed in realistic scenes was greatly intensified by anodal tDCS over the right inferior frontal cortex.

Spatial orientation

Another aspect highly relevant to visual search was spatial orienting. These studies figured out that attention and focus are not symmetrically distributed over the visual field. Most people are exposed to pseudoneglect; they overemphasize features in the left versus the right hemisphere. This happens because the right hemisphere is slightly more active than the left.

Presumably, it was seen that tDCS proved to be very effective in increasing the activity of the left parietal cortex beyond that of the right, and resultantly causing a rightward shift in spatial bias. Similarly, a rightward shift for right cathodal tDCS was observed. It was furthermore observed that a “dual” montage with one electrode on each posterior parietal cortex (anode on left; cathode on right) was even more effective.

Sustained Attention

Typically after prolonged time-on-tasks, the average performance of a person declines which is called vigilance decrement. To find ways to hinder vigilance decrement, different research work was done that examined the effects of tES on sustained attention.

It was reported that the vigilance decrement could be stopped by applying bilateral tDCS to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex early into a vigilance task.

Furthermore, prefrontal tDCS did not affect performance on a sustained attention to response task, but they did increase mind wandering. In conclusion, two studies reported that prefrontal tDCS specifically offsets the vigilance decrement, suggesting that its effects may only become apparent after prolonged task performance.

 

With the applications mentioned above, we come to the conclusion that a person’s focus can be enhanced through transcranial electric current stimulation. The effects of tDCS are not confined to the stimulation period, but can outlast it for minutes to hours, or even months after multiple stimulation sessions!

 

References

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation’ May Boost Cognitive Function And Brighten Your Mood. (2013, october 29). Retrieved from Medical Daily: https://www.medicaldaily.com/put-headset-sharpen-your-focus-transcranial-direct-current-stimulation-may-boost-cognitive-function

ATTENTIONAL MODULATION OF VISUAL PROCESSING. (n.d.). Retrieved from Annual Reviews: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.neuro.26.041002.131039

Enhancement of attention, learning, and memory in healthy adults using transcranial direct current stimulation. (2014, january 15). Retrieved from Science DIrect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811913008550?via%3Dihub

Enhancement of object detection with transcranial direct current stimulation is associated with increased attention. (2012, september 10). Retrieved from BMC Neuroscience: https://bmcneurosci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2202-13-108#Sec6

Enhancing multiple object tracking performance with noninvasive brain stimulation. (2015, feb 5). Retrieved from Frontiers : https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnsys.2015.00003/full

Frequency Band-Specific Electrical Brain Stimulation Modulates Cognitive Control Processes. (2015, september 25). Retrieved from PLOS: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0138984

Increasing propensity to mind-wander with transcranial direct current stimulation. (2015, feb 17). Retrieved from PNAS: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/11/3314

Modulation of attention functions by anodal tDCS on right PPC. (2015, July). Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393215000950?via%3Dihub

Simultaneous tDCS-fMRI Identifies Resting State Networks Correlated with Visual Search Enhancement. (2016, march 7). Retrieved from frontiers: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00072/full

TDCS guided using fMRI significantly accelerates learning to identify concealed objects. (2012, january 2). Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811910014667?via%3Dihub

The effects of tDCS upon sustained visual attention are dependent on cognitive load. (2016, January 8). Retrieved from Science direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393215302207?via%3Dihub

The Truth About Electrical Brain Stimulation. (n.d.). Retrieved from vitals: https://vitals.lifehacker.com/the-truth-about-electrical-brain-stimulation-1822192429

Transcranial Electrical Stimulation as a Tool to Enhance Attention. (2017, march 10). Retrieved from Speinger Link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41465-017-0010-y

When Less Is More: Evidence for a Facilitative Cathodal tDCS Effect in Attentional Abilities. (2012, september ). Retrieved from The MIT PressJournals: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/10.1162/jocn_a_00248

 

 

What is neuroplasticity?

Is it true that neurostimulation helps your neurons make connections?

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is the ability of the brain to be adapted to any change in its surrounding throughout its life. From the time we are born until the day we die, the cells in our brain keep reorganizing according to our needs of change. Neuroplasticity is constantly at work throughout our lives. The connections within our brain are either becoming stronger or weaker. Younger people’s brains change more easily, because their brains are very plastic. Aged people lose their brain plasticity and become more firm and fixed in their thinking, learning and perceiving. In clinical context, the term neuroplasticity determines how quickly a patient recovers after a brain injury i.e. to regain independence to perform daily life activities (self-care, dressing, personal hygiene etc.)

 

It has been recognized that not all psychiatric and neurological behavioural indicators are solely because of abnormality, but because of alteration in the functionality of the brain regions. In this context, brain region becomes an important target of neuromodulatory interventions such as transcranial direct current stimulation. The advancement in neuroimaging techniques have made ways for us to non-invasively visualize different regions of the brain. tDCS has been used to improve various areas of cognitive functions. Some of them are briefly described ahead.

 

tDCS to improve learning and boost memory:

tDCS has been proven to be potentially beneficial in improving memory and learning in people with atypical brain development. With the help of several researcher’s work, it was proposed that tDCS when used on the right inferior frontal and right parietal cortex improved memory conditions. tDCS has also been reportedly said to improve language performance and word retrieval in people with language impairment.

 

tDCS to enhance motor skills:

In a randomized study, it was observed that tDCS could enhance motor skills in patients with chronic stroke. The transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was positioned over the motor cortex (M1) (through anode) and contralesional forehead (through cathode) challenging fine motor skill task. The results showed significant increase in motor skills relative to any other treatment.

tDCS to treat Chronic Pain:

 

Different experimental research work done on patients with fibromyalgia and phantom limb pain suggested that tDCS had the capacity to upregulate and downregulate the functional connectivity of brain regions that are associated with motor, cognitive and pain processing. Patients with phantom limb pain were given anodal tDCS (applied over motor cortex) for over 5 consecutive days and they reported reduction in their pain.

 

tDCS to enhance athleticism:

A “Cycling Time to Task Failure Test” was conducted among several athletes in which it was revealed that participants who received anodal stimulation biked longer than those who received sham or cathodal stimulations. The researchers suggested that the better performance could be due to higher excitability of motor cortex leading to a decrement in effort and increment in endurance of the athletes.

 

tDCS to treat Alzheimer and other diseases:

It was reported that tDCS used on temporal cortex and left DLPFC enhanced VRM (Visual Recognition Memory) in patients with Alzheimer Disease. In different research work, it was noticed that tDCS also proved great in enhancing overall memory conditions of Alzheimer patients when applied bilaterally over the temporal regions through anodal electrodes on the scalp.

 

 

References

 

A brain network perspective on tDCS induced neuroplasticity: Single versus dual or multiple sites stimulation. (2017, march). Retrieved from science direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1388245716306897

IMPROVING NEUROPLASTICITY 

AND MOTOR LEARNING BY BRAIN. (2016, feb). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/536d/5ef2ae380aab59630ceeda72c54de0751ac8.pdf

Induction of Neuroplasticity by Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. (2016, dec 1). Retrieved from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5219570/

WHAT IS NEUROPLASTICITY? (n.d.). Retrieved from brain works neurotherapy: https://brainworksneurotherapy.com/what-neuroplasticity

 

Boost your exercise routines with tACS/tDCS

What's the latest research on using tACS while you're exercising?

We are living in a world that is ultracompetitive in professional sports where victory is determined in fraction of seconds and distance. The difference in the potential of two elite athletes differ in fractions of percentages. This is a reason why athletes take ergogenic aids (any kind of aid/ substance that increases their potential and performance levels). Frequently used ergogenic aid includes hypoxic training and multivitamin supplements. Recently, the use of transcranial electric current stimulation to enhance athleticism has gained great importance in academic study.

It has been proposed that the use of tDCS may enhance mental and physical performance in sports. For example, it has been researched that tDCS could reduce the reflex times to auditory, visual and touch stimuli. It has been shown to reduce tremor and enhance complex motor skills and motor learning in athletes.

There are two ways through which brain stimulation could possibly improve mental and physical performance in sports.

Using tDCS before performance which reduces mental and muscle stress levels and resultantly increases focus for a quicker action.

Using tDCS during performance that would help the athletes to learn motor skills in a better way.

Therefore, it is also very important to note that under what conditions and circumstances the tDCS is being utilized.

Cycling Time to Task Failure Test:

An experiment comprising of 12 recreationally “active” participants was carried out (including 8 men and 4 women, aged between 18 to 44). The participants were randomly given cathodal, anodal and sham stimulations. Meanwhile, they were instructed to avoid alcohol, depressants or any strenuous exercise. Both before and after tDCS, partic

ipants’ neuromuscular abilities/ performances were assessed in cycling sessions. It was observed that participants that received anodal stimulation biked longer than those who received sham or cathodal stimulations. The researchers suggested that the better performance might be the result of higher excitability of motor cortex leading to a decrement in effort and increment in endurance.

tDCS has been used to enhance endurance performance but how it achieved this was previously unk

nown and this study has helped identify the mechanisms. It was discovered that stimulating the brain using transcranial direct current stimulation, over the scalp, to stimulate it, increased the activity of the area affiliated with the contraction of muscles. This decreased perception of effort and increased the length of time participants could cycle for. The team explained that this is because the exercise felt less effortful following stimulation. 

The studies demonstrate that tDCS with the anode over both motor cortices using a bilateral extracephalic reference improves endurance performance. In addition, tDCS can enhance motor learning thereby increasing the benefit of practice and promoting better performance.

Another neur

ostimulation device, called Halo sport that leverages tDCS technology is becoming famous among Olympic, MLB and NLF athletes etc. The device looks like headphones and promises strength, speed, skill and endurance enhancement. The procedure is that you turn the system on for 20 or more minutes, and shortly after that, you are primed neurologically for enhanced learning and performance. The company is the first to offer it commercially to athletes.

 

References

Brain doping’ may improve athletes’ performance. (2016, march 11). Retrieved from nature: https://www.nature.com/news/brain-doping-may-improve-athletes-performance-1.19534

Bilateral extracephalic transcranial direct current stimulation improves endurance performance in healthy individuals. (2018, Jan-Feb). Retrieved from brain stimulation: https://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(17)30931-2/fulltext

Brain stimulation can improve athletic performance. (2017, october 12). Retrieved from science daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171012122736.htm

Brain stimulation can improve athletic performance. (2017, oct 12). Retrieved from university of kent: https://www.kent.ac.uk/news/science/15403/brain-stimulation-can-improve-athletic-performance

Can Shocking Your Brain Make You a Better Athlete? (2016, nov 17). Retrieved from outsi

de online: https://www.outsideonline.com/2137321/can-shocking-your-brain-make-you-better-athlete

Connectivity. (2016, march 21). Retrieved from MIT technology review: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601054/brain-zapping-headphones-could-make-you-a

-better-athlete/

Enhancing Athletic Performance With Brain Stimulation. (2017, oct 13). Retrieved from psychology today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-red-light-district/201710/enhancing-athletic-performance-brain-stimulation

Performance Enhancement by Brain Stimulation. (2017, Aug 8). Retrieved from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5592297/

The Halo Sport headphones supercharge your brain to make you better at sports. (n.d.). Retrieved from digital trends: https://www.digitaltrends.com/health-fitness/halo-sport-neuropriming-headphones-video-review/

These Headphones Can Improve Performance and Reduce Fatigue! (n.d.). Retrieved from train right: https://trainright.com/halo-neuroscience-headphones-improve-performance-reduce-fatigue/

Is Non-Invasive Neurostimulation Safe?

What's the latest research on the safety of neurostimulation?

The word “safety” is defined by and limited to the absence of any kind of incident or situation of any serious and adverse side effect. This post is made upon an evidence-based approach with repeated experience of using tDCS on humans.

Computational models were used to compare dose to brain exposure in humans and animals. For meaningful standards of safety, dose response curve and dose metrics (current, current density, current duration, charge, and charge density) were reviewed. Special consideration was given to children and the elderly with mood disorders, epilepsy, implants, stroke etc.

With regards to the word “safety”, application of tDCS with all the protocols used to this date are safe, as reported in the review by NItsche:

Extensive animal and human evidence and theoretical knowledge indicate that the currently used tDCS protocols are safe. However, knowledge about the safe limits of duration and intensity of tDCS is still limited. Thus, if charge or current density is exceeded greatly beyond the currently tested protocols, which might be desirable, for example, for clinical purposes, we suggest concurrent safety measures.”

tDCS has been tested over thousand times on subjects varying world-wide, with no evidence of any bad/adverse results. With respect to thousands of experiments been carried out to check the adverse effects of tDCS, some experiments have especially been carried out to check its safety.

Based on the combined consequences gathered from all the research and experiments with tDCS, we have only found out that tDCS is only mildly associated with temporary headache and erythema (for duration of 40 minutes) in the stimulation side. Other side effects that are very less probable to occur include nausea, visual phosphine, vertigo and difficulty in concentration.

More than 100 experiments have been carried out in healthy controls and patients’ population using tDCS. If any side effects were observed; they were slight itching under the electrode, fatigue and nausea.

Other than that:

  • No neuronal damage was seen as assessed by serum neuron-specific enolase.
  • No pathological waveforms were seen on EEG.
  • No worsening of neuropsychological measures was observed after frontal lobe stimulation.
  • No heating occurred under the electrode.

The most severe side effects found in healthy volunteer were skin lesions on the area where electrodes were placed using 2mA current. These lesions were however very rare and most probably occurred due to insufficient skin-electrode contact. The problem could be avoided by using sodium chloride solution and regularly changing the sponge and carefully inspecting the condition of skin placed under the electrode, both, before and after the tDCS.

With no reports of serious side effects of tDCS, some proposed warnings are still to be very strictly and carefully abide by. Some of them are:

  • Stimulation sessions that last more than 40 minutes are for research purpose only.
  • Currents above 0.06mA are for advanced clinical or research purpose only.
  • Before using, always check if electrodes and strastism components are undamaged and clean.
  • If sponge electrodes are being used, it is recommended to use sodium chloride solution, regularly changing the sponge and carefully checking the condition of the skin before and after the tDCS session.
  • Electrode positions above cranial foramina and fissures should be avoided because these could increase the effective current density beyond safety limits.

To this date the use of tDCS has not been reported to have produced any adverse side effects or irreversible injury in human trials of over 33,200 sessions. This is said on the basis of a wide variety of subjects, which even includes people from potentially vulnerable populations. However, there are many safety recommendations with regard to the application of tDCS. When tDCS is given combined with EEG, conductive fluids between the electrodes must be prevented so that short circuiting is avoided. So, electrode gel, or vybuds’ dry electrodes, are preferable to saline solution.

 

 

 

 

References

A technical guide to tDCS. (2016, feb). Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1388245715010883

Low intensity transcranial electric stimulation: Safety, ethical, legal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Clinical neurophysiology : http://www.cognitiveneuroscience.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/antal-et-al.pdf

Safety of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. (2016, oct). Retrieved from National Centre for Biotechnology Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27372845

tDCS clinical research – Safety of transcranial Current Stimulation. (2015, april 24). Retrieved from Neuro Electrics: https://www.neuroelectrics.com/wiki/images/6/6a/NEWP201501-Safety_tCS.pdf

Transcranial direct current stimulation. (n.d.). Retrieved from Brain Stimulation: https://www.aipass.org/files/TDCS_State%20of%20the%20art.pdf

 

 

 

Using tDCS/tACS to Treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Veterans

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental condition of anxiety that is triggered by a terrifying event, either by experiencing it or by witnessing it. Traumatic events that trigger PTSD may include accidents, natural-human caused disasters, personal assaults etc. Several effective treatments, such as antidepressants as serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been identified as treatments for PTSD, however even with these a number of patients continue to experience  symptoms. This means that treatment for chronic PTSD is still inadequate. The neuroscience has revealed that patients suffering from PTSD have altered functioning within several brain regions. Researchers say that a non-invasive electrical brain stimulation is a very effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by seemingly correcting the dysfunctional brain parts. It is believed that this, in turn, results in relief of PTSD symptoms.

The non-invasive transcranial Direct Current Stimulation tDCS has been experimented to treat many mental conditions like schizophrenia, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, stroke and many more. When we talk about PTSD, one of the main problems with this disorder is the inability to escape fearful thoughts. Such as flashbacks of a friend being killed in a car accident. Such flashbacks can aggravate PTSD Symptoms which may also include anger, insomnia, nightmares and irritability.

tDCS decreases Emotional Arousal and Fear in PTSD patients:

Several studies were carried out that involved the use of tDCS to treat PTSD and their results were carefully observed.

During tDCS, a low-intensity current enters through one electrode and leaves through the other. The neurons, under the electrode where the current enters the body, become more likely to send signals, and under the electrode area where the current exits the skin, neurons are less likely to send signals.

A study involved 28 people suffering from PTSD. The researchers took help of an event marked by conditioned reflex, in which the patients predicted an unpleasant event after seeing a neutral stimulus. Coloured lights were marked as neutral stimulus and the unpleasant event attached to it was a harmless but highly annoying current to the fingers. The researchers put the electrode, through which current enters the skin, over a region which plays an important role in extinction learning and memory called ventromedial prefrontal cortex. The purpose was to make sure that those neurons fire off more likely to see if this improved extinction learning or the ability to predict an annoying event. At first, the 28 patients were made to see a colored light in a room, and, simultaneously, were given electric shock. Later, the patients were shown the coloured light without applying the electric shock. The later event is what we call extinction learning; the process where one learns that certain situations no longer anticipate an annoying event.

Fourteen patients received 10 minutes of tDCS just when they were experiencing extinction learning. The other 14 were given tDCS just after they underwent extinction learning, a time period known as extinction consolidation, when the information is being fed into the memory. After 24 hours, all of these patients were tested if they remembered the electric shock or not.

The results showed that the 14 veterans who received stimulation during the time of extinction consolidation showed slightly less perspiration on their hands (which was a sign of less fear/emotional arousal) than those who experienced the tDCS during extinction learning. An increase in hand sweat showed how well the patients had learnt and remembered that seeing colored light will result into a very unpleasant shock to their fingers.

It could be taken as giving the brain a little boost when people learnt that the colored lights no longer predict an electric shock and store that learning into memory, so people can better remember that they don’t need to fear the lights any longer.

For tDCS to be more effective, it is very important to control what the brain is doing during tDCS. That is why people were stimulated when they were doing an experimental task of extinction learning or consolidation of learning.

 

References

Brain stimulation technique shows promise in reducing fear in Veterans with PTSD. (2017, december 

9). Retrieved from US Department Of Veteran Affairs: https://www.research.va.gov/currents/1117-Brain-stimulation-technique-shows-promise-in-reducing-fear-in-PTSD.cfm

Current Status of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Posttraumatic Stress and Other Anxiety Disorders. (2016, april 2). Retrieved from NEURAL ENGINEERING GROUP: https://www.neuralengr.org/uncategorized/new-paper-prospects-of-tdcs-for-ptsd/

Non-Invasive Br

ain Stimulation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder . (n.d.). Retrieved from Grantome: http://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R21-MH102539-02

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Enhancement of Trauma-focused Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from Smart Patients : https://www.smartpatients.com/trials/NCT02900053

tDCS improves behavioral and neurophysiological symptoms in pilot group with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and with poor working memory. (2014, feb 28). Retrieved from Taylor and Francis Group: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13554794.2014.890727