There is mounting evidence that non-invasive brain stimulation devices – transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) could be used for cognitive enhancement. However, the regulatory environment surrounding such uses of stimulation devices is less clear than for stimulant drugs—a fact that has already been commercially exploited by several companies. In this paper, the mechanism of action, uses and adverse effects of non-invasive neurostimulation devices are reviewed, along with social and ethical challenges pertaining to their use as cognitive enhancements. Two regulatory approaches that could be used to facilitate responsible use of these devices as products and services are outlined. Apart from establishing the urgently needed comprehensive regulatory framework, they might provide a starting point for establishing long term physiological and social effects of enhancement uses of tDCS and TMS.


Dubljević V. Neuroethics (2015) 8: 115.


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