Why So Quiet – What Happened?

Honestly I just burned out on following along with a lot of science that didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. What attracted me to tDCS were the stories and studies that implied accelerated learning and improved memory skills were just around the corner. What kept me interested were depression studies that did seem to demonstrate effectiveness. And considering my own bias against pharmaceuticals, even if the positive effects of tDCS for depression were placebo, I considered it worth talking about and promoting. I still do, for depression.
But tDCS is fairly easy to work with and that means lots of young scientists doing low-powered studies, the upshot of which might be a published paper, but not much else.
What actually stopped me in my tracks was the sudden realization of how little we know about electricity in the human body.
It was this Sean Carroll podcast with Michael Levin where he discusses manipulating the growth of tadpoles and flatworms with electricity (among many other things related to bioelectricty) that made me question the safety and sensibility of introducing current into our brains! There are some profound first-level mysteries at play here, and until we know more, OR, there is a solid ‘do this – get that result’ application of tDCS, I’m taking a wait and see perspective.
Thanks for following along!

One thought on “Why So Quiet – What Happened?

  1. Interesting points, but par for the course. If you’re interested in brain stimulation (and this applies to anyone) then reading the journal articles won’t get you there. You should become engaged as a patient/client and researcher/practitioner. I did both and feel that has helped illuminate both the field and how people accept and engage with it. Few clients understand or ask for this kind of therapy, and few practitioners know or practice it. The studies are small and disintegrated. One has to experience this for yourself and train/apply it to others to observe how they react. There is a good deal of “placebo” effect here: people cannot be objective about their own perceptions, but, as a clinician, you might be able to understand what they report. I have continued to own, research, experience, recommend, and deliver various forms of feedback therapy, mostly neurofeedback. I have also become a psychotherapist. I feel that having the psychological background on a person is essential for evaluating the neurological effects of feedback training. I now encourage that all of my clients learn about and consider brain biofeedback training or entrainment. A few people do it, most people consider it, some people ignore it. That is also an indication of where their heads are. You can lead a horse to water… you know how it goes.

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