Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The dangers of digital drugs

Kim Komando (who at least used to be based here in Phoenix) is promoting nonsense about "digital drugs":

But websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects.

All your child needs is a music player and headphones.

Digital drugs supposedly synchronize your brain waves with the sound. Hence, they allegedly alter your mental state.

Binaural beats create a beating sound. Other noises may be included with binaural beats. This is intended to mask their unpleasant sound.

Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For example, some claim to help you develop extrasensory powers like telepathy and psychokinesis.

Other sites offer therapeutic binaural beats. They help you relax or meditate. Some allegedly help you overcome addiction or anxiety. Others purport to help you lose weight or eliminate gray hair.

However, most sites are more sinister. They sell audio files ("doses") that supposedly mimic the effects of alcohol and marijuana.

But it doesn't end there. You'll find doses that purportedly mimic the effects of LSD, crack, heroin and other hard drugs. There are also doses of a sexual nature. I even found ones that supposedly simulate heaven and hell.

Many are skeptical about the effects of digital drugs. Few scientific studies have been conducted on binaural beats. However, a Duke University study suggests that they can affect mood and motor performance.

Dr. Nicholas Theodore, a brain surgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, said there is no real evidence that idosers work. [emphasis added] But he noted that musical preference is indicative of emotional vulnerability. Trying idosers could indicate a willingness to experiment with drugs and other dangerous behavior.

Theodore added that idosers are another reason to monitor kids' Internet usage. And, he said, kids need frank talks with their parents about correct choices.


Let's think about this for a moment. The sites claim binaural beats cause the same effects as illegal drugs. These drugs impair coordination and can cause hallucinations. They've caused countless fatal accidents, like traffic collisions.

If binaural beats work as promised, they are not safe. They could also create a placebo effect. The expectation elicits the response. Again, this is unsafe.

At the very least, digital drugs promote drug use. Some sites say binaural beats can be used with illegal drugs.

At least she doesn't call for new laws. I'd endorse consumer civil complaints, if not fraud charges, against sellers of bogus products, which would include the so-called "therapeutic" binaural beats just as much as the allegedly "sinister" ones.

(Via The Agitator.)


John Wilkins said...

Well, personally I reckon hiphop should be mandated by the FDA as a potentially dangerous drug.

Einzige said...

Wow. Absurd.

Meanwhile, this reminds me of something that Ray Kurzweil mentioned in his book The Age of Spiritual Machines, way back in 1998: Brain Generated Music, which, to me, seems so much cooler.

Sadly, the web page I've linked to has been exactly the same for at least 8 years, now, and I doubt there is--nor will there be--actually any way to acquire a machine that would enable one to experience it.