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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wrote a post about brain doping using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) a couple years ago. I guessed that Team Sky was winning because they were using brain doping, an undetectable, legal and probably effective way to overcome your brains “central governor”, a hypothesized subconscious safety device that kicks in to prevent organ damage. The post is gone for some reason but I was shocked when I read an article in the latest issue of New Scientist Magazine titled "Marathon mind: How brain training could smash world records". It's a long and fascinating article about brain "doping" for endurance athletes but what really struck me was this line near the end of the story:

[/IWhat’s more, it is not yet clear if brain training or deception will work for elite athletes. After all, they are the elite because they have trained their minds to tap energy reserves that most of us can’t reach. Even so, some of the world’s leading elite endurance sports teams have begun to test a more direct way to alter perception of effort: zapping the brain with electricity.

The Red Bull High Performance team, for instance, is working with neuroscientists from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, to see how its athletes respond to transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), where a weak electrical current is applied to the brain. Team Sky, the all-conquering British cycling outfit, is also reported to be exploring the technique’s potential.

The trials build on work suggesting which brain regions it might be best to target. In 2011, a team led by Kai Lutz at the University of Zurich in Switzerland measured the electrical activity in the brains of cyclists as they pedalled to exhaustion. As the subjects tired, Lutz noticed a steady increase in the intensity of communication between the motor cortex, which controls movement, and the insular cortex, which processes signals from the muscles and other components of the body. The results indicate that your insular cortex responds to signals of distress by ordering the motor cortex to give it a rest.

Based on this, Alexandre Okano at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil, gave a group of cyclists a 10-minute bout of tDCS over the insular cortex. He found that they generated 4 per cent more power and reported lower perceived effort levels than before the brain zaps.

So can brain stimulation really help elite marathon runners shave 177 seconds off the record? Holden MacRae, a sports scientist at Pepperdine who led the Red Bull project, thinks so. “Potentially, manipulating the brain via tDCS could lead to that level of performance with the right athlete in optimal conditions and on a fast course,” he says. “Ethically, though, would tDCS be any different to performance enhancing drugs?” That is a debate for another day, even if that day might arrive sooner than you think.]

I have no idea where they author got his info about Team Sky but probably from one of the researchers he talked to during research for the article. You can buy a tDCS device for less then a $100 on the internet and as far is we know know it's safe. I strongly believe this is what Sky has used and I'm sure it's use is spreading beyond sky by now.
https://www.newscientist.com/articl...how-brain-training-could-smash-world-records/
 

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Fascinating.

I don't recall seeing any anodes or cathodes on their heads. Maybe they're in the Kask helmets! It would really suck if the conductive gel was washed away with sweat.

 

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Mind over body is nothing new. External cues (such as an electrical device, or an image, or biofeedback) are usually used to achieve this, or part of this.

However, Indian yoga pracitioners and Buddhist meditators have been known to do remarkable feats of controlling their body that was previously thought to be entirely involuntary and under the control of the autonomic nervous system.

Voluntary heart rate reduction following yoga using different strategies

It would seem that altering the perception of pain, i.e., the pain you feel in your legs as you pedal harder, is something entirely, even child play, for well a trained yogist. If one could train to ignore enough pain so as to push 20-30 watts harder, well that is worth an investigation into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't recall seeing any anodes or cathodes on their heads. Maybe they're in the Kask helmets! It would really suck if the conductive gel was washed away with sweat.
No need for wires. In the Brazil study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in February 2013, the brain stimulation was done for 20 minutes prior to the test ride. This gave trained cyclists a 4% boost. Maybe after 5 hours it's only a 1% boost but that's more then enough to win a race. This all can be done in the RV before the race. I believe the team was using this protocol well before 2013. Tdcs has been around for awhile.
http://neuralengr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/tDCS_autonomic_Paper.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If it's not banned by WADA, how can it be doping?

Is Sky mechanical doping by using gears?
That's right, it's not doping. Which may be why Sky can say they are clean with a strait face. Is it ethical to boost your endurance by 4% using brain stimulation? That remains to be answered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Attaching electrodes to your skull with a nine volt battery and using that to dampen the brains central governor that's used to protect your body from damage. Yep, no different from any other training method.
 

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I wrote a post about brain doping using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) a couple years ago. I guessed that Team Sky was winning because they were using brain doping, an undetectable, legal and probably effective way to overcome your brains “central governor”, a hypothesized subconscious safety device that kicks in to prevent organ damage. The post is gone for some reason but I was shocked when I read
Thinking of the wrong forum I bet, your only other post was this: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/doping-forum/what-will-satisfy-doubters-309257.html
 

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I wrote a post about brain doping using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) a couple years ago. I guessed that Team Sky was winning because they were using brain doping, an undetectable, legal and probably effective way to overcome your brains “central governor”, a hypothesized subconscious safety device that kicks in to prevent organ damage. The post is gone for some reason but I was shocked when I read an article in the latest issue of New Scientist Magazine titled "Marathon mind: How brain training could smash world records"...

...I have no idea where they author got his info about Team Sky but probably from one of the researchers he talked to during research for the article. You can buy a tDCS device for less then a $100 on the internet and as far is we know know it's safe. I strongly believe this is what Sky has used and I'm sure it's use is spreading beyond sky by now.
https://www.newscientist.com/articl...how-brain-training-could-smash-world-records/
Mind over body is nothing new. External cues (such as an electrical device, or an image, or biofeedback) are usually used to achieve this, or part of this.

However, Indian yoga pracitioners and Buddhist meditators have been known to do remarkable feats of controlling their body that was previously thought to be entirely involuntary and under the control of the autonomic nervous system.

Voluntary heart rate reduction following yoga using different strategies

It would seem that altering the perception of pain, i.e., the pain you feel in your legs as you pedal harder, is something entirely, even child play, for well a trained yogist. If one could train to ignore enough pain so as to push 20-30 watts harder, well that is worth an investigation into.
Matt Fitzgerald talks about this phenomenon in his book "How Bad Do You Want It? Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle" and how guys like Prefontaine were so successful because they could override their body's self-preservation signals.
I'm not surprised that Team Sky is pursuing this. I guess in a way, they'd be fools not to. I think most of the other teams will follow suit, except those stuck in the old school ways of training.


Fascinating. I don't recall seeing any anodes or cathodes on their heads. Maybe they're in the Kask helmets! It would really suck if the conductive gel was washed away with sweat.
Heyyyyy... I've got a Kask helmet!
Hmm...:idea:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think I found the source of the claim that Team Sky was looking at tdcs for cycling.

During his stay Brailsford visited 20 tech companies, met venture capitalists, and tested a wide range of products that in one, two or five years’ time may see the light of day. Repeatedly he found himself asking this simple question: how many of these ideas swirling around Silicon Valley, no matter how esoteric or crazy-sounding, could help his riders go faster? In essence he was searching for Marginal Gains 2.0; a new tranche of tiny advantages over Team Sky’s rivals in the peloton. And what he found, he says, was very interesting. “Although some of it is a bit out there,” he adds, cheerily. “Really out there.”
Which brings us back to those electrodes on his head. “That’s me, at one company, doing my darts test,” he says. “It’s a form of cranial stimulation. The military have been using it for their snipers to reduce the time it takes them to acquire a skill. What they are suggesting is that this increases the plasticity of the cortex to enable fast-track learning.

“After a while they sent an electrical current and I carried on playing darts to see whether it would improve my play.” Did it work? “I got better at darts,” he says, laughing. “Well, I went from **** to less ****.”
The device claims to help users achieve a state of “flow”, that feeling when every task seems easy and effortless, but Brailsford is just as interested in research that suggests cranial stimulation could help endurance capacity. “They think that it can override the brain,” he says. “When the brain goes ‘right, I better close down and stop’, the cranial stimulation overrides that, and allows you to compete closer to your body’s capability, which is interesting.

“Now this isn’t something we will be seeing in the Classics next year, but it is something to experiment with. And when you immerse yourself into what’s going on over there you realise there’s quite a lot of stuff that is consumer-facing and some of it is close to being developed.”


Team Sky’s Dave Brailsford on the hunt for cycling’s new technology | Sport | The Guardian

This is from a March 2015 article. This suggests that tDCS was not in use at that time by Team Sky but they were looking into it, or it's all just a smoke screen to make it look like they are not using tDCS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
New Company, Halo, uses tdcs for brain doping. Being used now by the US Ski Team and Michael Johnson Performance training facility. Brain doping is real and happening right now.
https://www.haloneuro.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW-ltuS6rXg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_4X7JTmZTg

"We're seeing enhanced learning ability and enhanced power output.”
Luke Bodensteiner
Executive VP of Athletics | United States Ski & Snowboard Association


Ski jumpers training with Halo Sport saw a 31% improvement in their propulsion force (1.7x improvement over sham control group) and a 25% decrease in jump entropy (1.8x improvement over sham control group). “Seeing these results is extremely exciting for everyone. We definitely see Halo Sport becoming an important tool in how we train our athletes,” says Bodensteiner.

https://www.haloneuro.com/case-study-usski

Newsweek article: http://www.newsweek.com/halo-neuroscience-brain-stimulation-424829
Before Chao turns on the headset I’ve tentatively put on, I ask if he uses it. He’s 44 and a serious cycler. In Marin County, Chao tells me, there’s a climb called Hawk Hill on which local bikers measure their worth. He claims that after training with Halo, he set a personal record by 15 seconds, beating times he had when he was much younger.
https://www.strava.com/segments/229781
 
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