Controlling the Brain With Magnets

Using magnetic stimulation to take charge of neurons, Alvaro Pascual-Leone spies on the brain's inner workings. 

Several times a week, Harvard neurologist Alvaro Pascual-Leone takes control of someone else’s brain. He presses a device the size of a table tennis paddle against that person’s head and sends pulses of electricity that shut down or stimulate wide tracts of brain cells. The technique, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS—apparently harmless and virtually painless—permits him to temporarily alter the activity of a living human brain. Back in 1984, Pascual-Leon...

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