J Med Ethics 41:410-412 doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101458
  • Viewpoint

The challenge of crafting policy for do-it-yourself brain stimulation

Open AccessPress Release
  1. Peter B Reiner
  1. National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Peter B Reiner, National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia, 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6J 2B5; peter.reiner{at}
  • Received 8 March 2013
  • Revised 22 April 2013
  • Accepted 30 April 2013
  • Published Online First 3 June 2013


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a simple means of brain stimulation, possesses a trifecta of appealing features: it is relatively safe, relatively inexpensive and relatively effective. It is also relatively easy to obtain a device and the do-it-yourself (DIY) community has become galvanised by reports that tDCS can be used as an all-purpose cognitive enhancer. We provide practical recommendations designed to guide balanced discourse, propagate norms of safe use and stimulate dialogue between the DIY community and regulatory authorities. We call on all stakeholders—regulators, scientists and the DIY community—to share in crafting policy proposals that ensure public safety while supporting DIY innovation.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: