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Neurostimulation covers those technologies that stimulate, or block, certain parts of the nervous system, particularly within the brain. The technology is used to treat various severe neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, depression and insomnia. Neurostimulation can also be used to augment human cognitive function.

Neurostimulation has historically been performed through both invasive (surgery) and non-invasive means (taking pills, electrical stimulation). Wearable headsets are now being marketed that work by adding a slight voltage to neurons, letting them fire more easily.

These devices use transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which has the potential to enhance language, learning, attention, problem solving, coordination and memory functions; help combat insomnia, anxiety, and depression; and manage pain. The future use of both “smart drugs” and tDCS could allow some people to gain a competitive advantage over others.

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