Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Use in Warfighting: Benefits, Risks, and Future Prospects

Conclusion The aim of this paper was to examine whether military tDCS use can be efficacious and ethical in military settings. Our assessment is that tDCS offers a number of cognitive, motor, and perceptual enhancement opportunities which could provide value in military situations like training and operations. There is potential scope for use in a number of key areas that directly affect practical battlefield advantage and survivability, such as deceptive capabilities, risk-taking, threat detection, perception, and physiological improvement. Additionally, tDCS has the potential to improve command and control decision making by enhancing aspects of cognition, such as planning, problem solving, memory, and probabilistic assessment. As well as benefits, tDCS poses a number of risks that need to be considered, and in some cases addressed by military organisations. Overall, it is the opinion of the current authors that the safety concerns are manageable, and the risks moderate. The technique has been tested on thousands of subjects, with most studies reporting only temporary minor adverse effects such as itching, tingling, and headaches. The most severe adverse consequence of tDCS reported to date was abrasions at the locations of the electrodes (which can be mitigated through the application of saline soaked sponges enclosing conductive rubber electrodes). The intensity and rate of occurrence of adverse events are so low that some effects (such as headaches) are reported in sim...
Source: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience - Category: Neuroscience Source Type: research

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