Policy ForumSCIENCE AND REGULATION

Oversight of direct-to-consumer neurotechnologies

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Science  18 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6424, pp. 234-235
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav0223

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Summary

Marketed for the purpose of modulating cognition or a variety of affective and mental states, a growing ecosystem of neurotechnology products is being sold direct to consumers (DTC) without necessitating the physician as intermediary. Offering individuals the prospect of monitoring and manipulating a range of brain functions from memory to mental health, the major product categories are neuromonitoring devices, cognitive training applications, neurostimulation devices, and mental health apps. The market for these products is predicted to top $3 billion by 2020 (1). Yet there are good reasons to conclude that regulatory oversight of DTC neurotechnologies is insufficient. We suggest ways to provide systematic support for regulatory agencies, funding bodies, and a public that is thirsty for knowledge about the efficacy of DTC neurotechnology products.

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