Brain stimulation or tDCS is proven to improve the performance of athletes. To activate it, shocks are applied to specific points in the brain. “The technology has evolved a lot. It looks like the results are being achieved,” said researcher Pedro L. Valenzuela says
- Opinion Risk Benefits of tDCS
A student has seen this on Youtube. Homemade techniques have been used for years, they assure you. A transistor battery, two wires, two electrodes, and a few whiskers on either side of the forehead, where the eyebrows end. They call it the brain battery and it is believed to help you be more awake, focus, study better. Works? Several studies indicate that this happens rarely, but some people still try it. A pass is worth a try. And the fact is that this method is not as strange as it sounds.
For almost a century, as a result of electroshock therapy, transcranial direct current stimulation (or tDCS for its abbreviation in English) has been used in psychiatry and psychology to deal with disorders such as depression, and more recently has started. Game preparation. The system is more sophisticated than a brain stack, but the goal is the same, to improve performance through neuroscience, and the question remains the same: does it work?
“It’s a question in the air. There are studies that say yes and others that say no. For example, in one of golfers practicing their drives, the benefit was seen, but so with basketball players shooting No. Free throw. It’s a technology that’s developing a lot, especially in the United States. Until recently, it wasn’t too far from home battery technology. What they now call High Definition Stimulation or HD tDCS, It seems that better results are being achieved because we focus the discharge on very specific points in the brain,” explains Pedro L. valenzuelaA researcher at the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid and editor of the journal Fisac, who tested transcranial stimulation in Spain a few years ago.
At the Madrid High Performance Center, with a small number of triathletes as the object of the study, they did a tDCS session before the swim test and … the conclusion was inconclusive. “The timing didn’t improve, but the triathletes assured that they felt a greater sense of vigor, that they were less tired. Because of such results, cranial stimulation is similar to caffeine,” Valenzuela says. In fact, that analogy has even been quantified: Some studies have found that tDCS yields greater benefits in attention and cognitive performance than consuming 200 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of two or three coffees. “However, I already say that, with the development of technology that may change,” he concluded.
This development of technology undergoes condensation. Until recently, two electrodes of about five centimeters each were placed that covered a large part of the head—normally seeking to stimulate the motor cortex—and discharges of about two millimetres were held for 20 or 30 minutes. were applicable. To this end, various gadgets were invented, including helmets similar to Beats by Dre, marketed by the Halo brand and promoted by athletes such as the Sprinter. mike rogers -Later approved for doping- or hurdler Michael TinsleyOlympic runner-up at the London 2012 Games. But at the moment the development is not so marketable, so aesthetic.
High-definition transcranial stimulation is based on a helmet that has dozens of points where you can apply those discharge-generating buttons in search of maximum effect. Despite community skepticism, some studies indicate a potential improvement in performance of 2%, a very high figure if we are talking about elite sport. And that’s why there are already people who demand that it be studied and that even the World Anti-Doping Agency (AMA) intervenes.
“It is a technique that is debatable: is it doping or not? There are still many studies on its performance as well as its consequences on health. The side effects are not known. Perhaps it could cause psychosis. and is being implemented without taking it into account. This is an issue that is going to give a lot to talk about in the years to come”, analyzes alberto carioA professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, who through the BBVA Foundation and in collaboration with the Universities of Oxford, the Catholic University of Louvain and the Johannes Guttemberg University in Mainz, is studying these new processes and their future ethics.
Perhaps in a few years transcranial stimulation will be part of the preparation for athletes, as will physiotherapy or nutrition. Perhaps in a few years it will be completely banned and the AMA will have to develop complex methods to detect it. At the moment the question is more basic: does it work?
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Reference from www.elmundo.es