Hacking the Brain to boost cognition

Would you be interested in enhancing your brain power effortlessly ?
Would you like easy H1s no worries?
Would you like that juicy 7.0 flat GPA?

Well I know I definitely wouldn’t complain!

Today’s ┬áblog post is going to be discussing an emerging technology , how it has the ability to make this happen and the underlying science behind it .

The Tech

The technology which I was alluding to momentarily ago is known as Vagal Nerve Stimulation and is a type of brain computer interface.

However, what makes this treatment different to traditional brain computer interfaces, is that it does not involve directly stimulating the brain with electrodes . Phew !

In fact the vagus nerve is a nerve that is located in the neck and thus provides an indirect route to modulate brain function .

This makes it a very attractive technology to use as a therapeutic , but also to commercialize.

The tech itself evolved as a treatment for people who have drug resistant epilepsy and depression .

However, the patients soon began reporting increased mood and cognition.

Subsequent research then revealed that this nerve posses brain enhancing capabilities.

Importantly, wireless simulators now exist .

So don’t worry, you don’t need to get under an operating table any time soon for that H1!

 

An image of a brain integrated into a computer network. Photo by Drew Dbenedua via Flickr

The science

The best way to explain how this works is to compare it to meditation.

The stimulation is activating the same nerve in the neck responsible for the practices cognition enhancing benefits.

Studies have shown that the stimulation engages the limbic system of the brain, a system involved in emotional processing , regulation and memory. Just like meditation does.

The research has gone to the point to show that it actually switches the brain into an “alert” state so that it is more reciprocal to incorporating new information into existing networks.
Issues with the technology

Although the technology seems marvelous and the lazy mans way out of meditating for cognitive benefits , I don’t recommend jumping onto a distributor online and purchasing one anytime soon.

The reason for this is that the true underlying mechanism , or long term consequences of using this technology are poorly understood.

You may improve cognition temporarily using it , but may destroy your ability to perceive a unique emotion. Who knows.

Thus , for now, if you really want a way to improve the ability of the brain to compute information without the worry of potential harmful side effects, just meditate.

Honestly, why risk using a technology that is just trying to mimic the benefits of something you can already do by just breathing ?

The decision is up to you !

A wise individual meditating instead of using a stimulation device to enhance cognition with little knowledge long term consequences. Photo by useitinfo via Flickr

But I think we should all keep an eye on up an coming brain computer interfaces regardless.

The rate technology is advancing is non-parallel .

It is just a matter of time before we are hooked up to the main frame with USB hard drives holding our extra memory.

If interested in learning more about Vagus stimulation in the domains of cognition feel free to refer to here.


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