Re: transcranial magnetic stimulation (was Uploading and Nanotech)

Anders Sandberg (
18 Apr 1998 17:17:40 +0200

ChuckKuecker <> writes:

> On Fox News a week or two ago, there was a doctor who had a magnetic pulse
> device he was using to treat severe depression. The transducer was what
> appeared to be a ferrite C-core with perhaps a dozen turns of heavy wire,
> connected to a cable running to a large cabinet. The device made cracking
> noises (capacitor discharge?) at about a 5 to 10 Hertz rate.

Sounds like transcranial magnetic stimulation. Yes, it is for
real. Change a magnetic field and you can induce an electric field
inside the brain, causing neurons to fire.

> He was heard saying to the patient that she would notice twitching in her
> extremities when he found the right spot..

You can do a lot more. I have read one paper where TMS was used to
disrupt braille reading in blind (they seem to use the former visual
cortex for it), and other experiments in disrupting language. It is a
crude stimulus, but it works.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y