Friday, January 14, 2011

The Schneider Brain Wave Synchronizer

Recently offered on eBay UK, this VINTAGE SCHNEIDER BRAIN WAVE SYNCHRONIZER MODEL MD-5 was described by the seller thusly:

3 DIFFERENT RANGES - DELTA, ALPHA AND BETA

HAS A LID AND LEADS AND PLUG BUT POSSIBLY WILL NEED CHECKING BY A ELECTRIAN. I HAVE PLUGGED IT IN, AND SEEMS TO WORK FINE BUT I AM NOT A DOCTOR

117 VOLTS 50-60 CYCLES AC 15 WATTS

APPROX HEIGHT 14CM, APPROX WIDTH 17CM, APPROX LENGTH 39CM

Sadly, bidding on this item has ended1. It sold for the low low price of £41.45.




In the journal Anesthesiology, Bause (2010) reflects on the history of the Brain Wave Synchronizer:
After observing how some radar technicians had become “transfixed” by rhythmic flashing dots on their radar screens, inventor Sidney Schneider designed his Brain Wave Synchronizer (BWS) to hypnotize by visually stimulating subjects at frequencies mimicking those of their alpha, beta, or delta brainwaves. In 1959 Schneider and hypnotist-obstetrician William Kroger, M.D., published their use of the BWS in prenatal classes for thousands of women prior to its use as an “electronic aid for hypnotic induction” during labor and delivery [Kroger & Schneider, 1959]. Four years later, Chicago anesthesiologist Max S. Sadove, M.D., published his work on how BWS-induced hypnosis could reduce anesthetic agent requirements during general anesthesia [Sadove, 1963]. By 1994 the BWS would be cited for causing epileptic seizures in a patient.

The modern brainwave synchronization or "brainwave entrainment" industry makes a lot of unsubstantiated claims to sell its devices. But discussing the peer-reviewed evidence on this will be a longer post for another time...

Footnote

1 However, the same seller is offering this FAB RETRO LADIES HEAD POWDER PUFF TRINKET BOX VASE, which is still available for a limited time (until 17 Jan, 2011 17:09:21 GMT). The starting bid is £8.00.


References

Bause GS. (2010). The Schneider brain wave synchronizer. Anesthesiology 113:584.

Kroger WS, Schneider SA. (1959). An electronic aid for hypnotic induction: A preliminary report. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 7:93-98.

SADOVE MS. (1963). Hypnosis in anesthesiology. Ill Med J. 124:39-42.


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5 Comments:

At January 14, 2011 8:27 AM, Blogger SustainableFamilies said...

I'm waiting for the next post! : )

 
At January 18, 2011 9:46 AM, Anonymous Craig said...

That's too funny :) It's so interesting to see that this kind of device was available back then. It make me think that humans have probably always tried to make improvements to our lot, using whatever technology is available at the time.

 
At January 23, 2011 3:29 AM, Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

So it's literally just a big light that flashes at three different frequencies?

That's a bit disappointing. It should at least have an EEG system to measure the subject's brainwaves.

Because each individual brain is different and everyone's alpha wave frequency is slightly different. The alpha "range" is 8-12 Hz. Say my alpha frequency is 9.3 Hz. A flickering light at 10 Hz is going to disrupt that, if anything. A 9.3 Hz light however might work.

 
At January 23, 2011 3:29 AM, Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

Although it might also give you a seizure or something. Don't try that at home.

 
At March 24, 2013 2:15 AM, Blogger Pete Jefferson said...

Not sure my first post took. I owned one of these back in the 70s and wanted to see if there was any info out here about them now. Thanks for the memories.
pete.jefferson65@gmail.com

 

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