Thursday, July 28, 2016


 What is this?

A headphone that looks as if electricity or hot music is emanating from it.

Reading about this gadget in Newsweek, the author referred to it as a "crown of thorns."

Is it because the guys who are selling the gadget named it HALO?

Actually the HALO is sort of magical, amazing. It isn't religious-symbolical, like the glowing circle around Jesus's head, but by wearing the HALO, believe it or not, you are blessed with super powers. It changes the brain from the outside.

You put it on. The spikes on the top, left side of gadget are foam-covered. It relies on transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), a technique that can trace its roots as far back as the 19th century. The electric pulses work only when combined with rigorous training. You ramp up the amps (using an app.) You wear the HALO for the first 20 or 30 minutes of any training session; revved up, they create a state of "hyperplasticity" in the brain, so neurons connect more readily than normal.

In 20 or 30 minutes you get your brain spiked?

Yes, it  runs on a rechargeable battery that is controlled, wirelessly, by an app on the smartphone. You get the app when you buy it the Halo.

It sounds weird and dangerous  I keep thinking of that Tom Hanks prison movie, "The Green Mile," the scene where they electrocute the guy. But HALO says the first versions of this crown of thorns were tested on hundreds of volunteers who collected data and refined the engineering. When the head guy talked about HALO at a sports conference in New York City, the U.S. ski jumping team tried it -- jumped higher, wider, better -- and provided this picture of a Haloed jumper.
Then, Michael Johnson, Olympic track and field gold medal winner, joined the testing. Sometime later, it was tested on 21 football players headed for the NFL. Also, a half-dozen MLB teams have been working with HALO at batting practice. None of these sports heroes want to go on the record as using it, but they have said they love it.

Would wearing it longer than 30 minutes make them faster, better, stronger?

HALO says more than 30 minutes doesn't make a difference. No one is sure what dosage level is best or safe, no one is sure if too much hyperplasticity could be harmful or whether the effects attributed to TES are long-lasting or transient.

I find myself wondering if a non athlete, or a plain ordinary person could try it and improve his doings? HALO suggested that various companies are interested in buying and popularizing it for those who are seeking to improve memory and cognition.

Where is this heading? What will happen when ordinary people get their hands on it? In sports, isn't it neuro-doping -- like using anabolic steroids?

Hey, I can do 3 pirouettes. If I got a HALO and wore it while warming up, could I could do more?

The price for the HALO is $549. And that includes the app for your smartphone. I don't have a smartphone, but if we bought one, bought HALO, I could try for 6, 8 or maybe even 10 pirouettes.


Yikes, I'll stick with 3 pirouettes. If we got a smartphone we'd need HALO to figure out how to use it!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Yes, there's pill -- a possible new approach to Alzheimer's  that may be a way of curing the disease before you get it.

Hey, one third of Americans over 85 are already affected  by Alzheimer's. Globally, 50 million are living with dementia. Since 2000 more than 200 Alzheimer's drugs have been tested; only a handful of drugs can  relieve some of the worst problems of memory loss and confusion.

In this issue of Time Magazine, we are told about Dr. Frank Longo, top neurologist at Stanford University -- his very impressive background, and the drug Longo created -- LM11A-31, that he calls C31. It's currently in Phase two of testing; the first Phase proved it was safe for humans to take. Right now, it is being tested on people with the disease to see if it ameliorates their symptoms. After Phase two, it will be on its way to being approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr Longo's drug can treat the disease before "amyloid"  (waxy sticky protein) appears in the brain.
Amyloid appears sometimes decades before there are any symptoms. If treatment begins before there is too much damage to various cognitive processes, the damage can be reversed. Therefore, Longo wants all adults to be tested for amyloids when they're relatively young.

Huh? What age does the Doc mean -- age 65, age 50, or younger -- 30 or 40? This sticky stuff -- what causes sticky protein to form -- diet, genes -- is it related to diabetes, sedentary existence? I waded through this six page cover story, without finding specific answers, just more about Longo's approach and other doctors' strategies. If you want to read it, click Alzheimer's From a New Angle.

I read the other sections in this issue about fear of dying, and what other things you can do to live longer, like getting your 23 chromosomes analyzed by 23AND ME, a DNA testing website that tells you what you can expect to go wrong with you as you grow older.

Hurray for the sciences that give us information about the dangers for us as we travel down the road. NO, I wouldn't enroll in 23AND ME, but gee, yes, oh YES, I would take Dr. Longo's test.

I want my brain to keep functioning, growing, getting wiser, and keep on being busy -- busier than ever -- working and learning and creating every single-wingle day of my life.