Can Neuro-Doping Technology Boost Performance?

Several doping techniques among athletes are coming up due to new technology. One of the methods known as neuro-doping, is currently legal. The technique involves sending electric currents to one’s brain, hence facilitating rapid learning, improved coordination, and muscular strength.

Neuro-doping in sports

Sportsmen and women have been enthralled by this electronic doping, which has replaced other doping techniques banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”). It is the latest doping method and WADA has yet to come up with rules governing neuro-doping and its detection. As per now, most of the athletes are enjoying the benefits of this electric doping without fear of facing sanctions.

Transcranial direct current neuro-doping

Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (“tDCS”) is one of the perfect examples of neuro-doping. The method works by dispatching painless and non-invasive electric currents to the brain for 3-20 minutes. It works by exciting the brain’s cortex, simultaneously increasing neuroplasticity. tDCS can be commercially done through a similar device such as a special headset.

The technique can be used by skiers, sprinters, weightlifters, and pitchers to enhance their performance. Also, practicing while putting this headset on creates new neural ways to help your body achieve the highest level of performance.

Neuro-doping can be applied in other areas too. For instance, it can be used by surgeons with agile hands, by very skilled air force pilots and soldiers with good aim. Due to its impact on cognitive and memory function, tDCS has made good progress in alleviating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It increases both memory and concentration span; hence it can even make you learn playing the guitar very fast. The technique should be utilized fully, especially at these moments where it is still allowed in sports. However, you should ask yourself, is it ethical in the sporting context?

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s view on tDCS

For WADA to ban a technique or a substance, some procedures are followed to determine its illegality. For it to be determined illegal, it must meet the following threshold:

  • It is a tool that, when used, enhances performance, hence securing a win.
  • It is a technique or a drug that destroys the spirit of sportsmanship.
  • Any device and substance that puts the health of athletes at risk.

Several pieces of research are showing that tDCS is a highly legitimate way of doping. However, experiments are still going on concerning the health risks of this method. After the trials are over, the side effects of the technique will be known. Depending on the severity of the dangers, WADA will determine whether it’s illegal or can still be used by athletes. But, according to sports ethics, the method is causing a lot of controversies.

A lot of issues have been foreseen to arise if athletes are allowed to use the tDCS. Since it has some resemblance to some popular doping drugs, the tDCS could introduce unfair competition among athletes. Besides, not every athlete may want to use it, and some athletes cannot afford this technology either.

It should also be noted that doping in sports yields some unfair benefits. For instance, when basketball players doped, watching them smashing balls out of the park was amazing. By bringing tDCS in sports could bring some extra-ordinary techniques and setting of insane world records. However, ask yourself if the technique is allowed, will it affect the spirit of sportsmanship? Experts say established biomedical firms like DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO) carefully assess all ethical consideration before they bring a solution to the market.

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