in the latest episode of the bbc's breaking: bad science, desperate users seek to calm their troubled minds with brain stimulation hardware. the bbc shamelessly promotes several companies trying to sell you this e-junk  

reported in: The BBC by Kitti Palmai on 11th October 2021 & Twitter by Vince Walsh on 11th October 2021

this story was in episode 18 #brainhacking #headbands #smart #snakeoil

the error bar says

in the latest episode of the BBC's new hit series, BREAKING: Bad science, in which desperate users seek to calm their troubled minds with the latest in brain stimulation hardware, the BBC shamelessly promotes two companies trying to sell you a headband.

it's not clear why the BBC sent their business, rather than science or health, editor to cover this story. the claim is that putting on a band that picks up electrical activity from the head can help you stay calm & focused.

this 'news' report names two companies that produce these devices. users of the devices, including athletes, business people & nurses, say they are convinced that they work, that they feel calmer & more focused when using the headband.

can headbands calm our minds?

there is an air of skepticism & an attempt at balance & critique in the BBC article, but overall this is a massive piece of free publicity for two profiteering snake-oil salesmen.

prompted by the ever-skeptical Professor Vince Walsh on twitter, i checked out the websites of the two companies for the scientific evidence.

company A's website shows lots of calm, focused-looking people living healthy & productive lives. the only hint that i could find of any evidence that backs up their claims was a small footnote referring to a survey done by the company's own researcher, claiming that people feel calmer after using the tech. but if you try to download the 'white paper' where this research is described, you are forced to agree to sign up to their mailing list. no, thank you.

company B's website is much the same, lots of calm, beautiful people getting on with their lives in a Zen-like state of focus & health. a browse of their 'frequently-asked-questions' & a search for 'science' within the site yielded no evidence that the product does anything but calm the nerves of the company's shareholders.

after this brief walk through neuro-marketing hell, i feel anything but calm.


science was already broken


The BBC: fiction - no scientific story here

Twitter: fact - scientific story reported well