U.S. military researchers are shocking troops’ brains to see if electricity jolts could be substituted for coffee and energy drinks, a couple of newspapers reported.
The Boston Globe said researchers with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, have been running tests on volunteers to see what their brain activity and mental acuity are like during electrical shocks. Stars and Stripes said the results have been positive: The electricity shocks bolster soldiers’ alertness with few side effects.
“There is some evidence that it does seem to work,” said Dr. William “Scott” Killgore, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School who specializes in mental health treatments, to the Globe. “There have been a few studies that if you use it in the right place, it can help mathematical calculations when people are sleep-deprived.”
Among a couple of the side effects experienced were headaches — albeit brief ones — and minor skin irritation, Stars and Stripes reported.
The electricity shocks could also improve soldiers’ thinking abilities, researchers say. They think it won’t be long before electrodes are standard issue for “some” military officials and soldiers, the Globe reported. Long-term issues are still an unknown, the paper reported.