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14 July 2016

Brain-Zapping Devices Have Shocking Potential, But Are They Safe?

Dr. Daniel Chao shows off the Halo Sport.  He claims using
it will increase a person's strength and dexterity. (CBC)
Brain-zapping devices have shocking potential, but are they safe?
by Aaron Saltzman, CBC News, 3 May 2016

'Do it at your own risk. But I wouldn't,' says Queen's University professor

The designers of Halo Sport, a headband they claim can improve athletic performance by shocking the brain, say their device could one day also help improve memory, foreign language acquisition, even math skills.

The wearable device, initially tested and used as a training aid by elite athletes including former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson and by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, is now being offered to consumers.

A presale sold out so quickly, the company says it has had to temporarily stop sales because of supply issues.

"We're really unlocking potential. We're not really changing anything fundamental of the human itself, we're just trying to get the most out of people." said Dr. Daniel Chao, Halo Neuroscience CEO and co-founder.

But a Canadian expert says those claims haven't been proven, and with no long-term studies on the health effects of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), selling such a device to consumers is "irresponsible."

"To me it almost equivalent to giving you an experimental drug over the counter and saying 'just go with it, have fun' because it seems to be producing interesting effects that you might enjoy," said Gunnar Blohm, an associate professor at Queen's University's School of Medicine.

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