Cronise believes that his weight-loss story was misunderstood and may have distracted people from the important issue of nutrition. “You can’t freeze yourself thin,” he told me. “When I first started, I had kind of a naive approach that I was going to suck calories out of people.” But his interest in altering metabolism through exposure to mild cold—which he defines as 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit—has only grown. Such temperatures are far enough below the socially accepted range that people plunked into a 50-something degree office would complain to no end. Unless, maybe, they believed it was good for them.
The notion that thermal environments influence human metabolism dates back to studies conducted in the late 18th century by the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, but only in the past century has it really become relevant to daily life. Cronise believes that our thinking about the modern plagues of obesity and metabolic disease (like diabetes) has not addressed the fact that most people are rarely cold today. Many of us live almost constantly, year-round, in 70-something-degree environments. And when we are caught somewhere colder than that, most of us quickly put on a sweater or turn up the thermostat.
In that sense, we don’t really experience seasonal variations in temperature the way our ancestors did. Even people in tropical regions used to get cold on rainy nights, Cronise pointed out, in a quick rejoinder to my observation that not all parts of the world have four seasons.
a variety of types are available - like this one, but interested people should look around. People with MS sometimes require cooling garmets - here a variety are listed.
My sister Corinne is an artist with an unusual sense of quirk. She's putting together a show of her work and poetic descriptions and has a contest for folks who can turn a phrase. Winners will get prints of the piece they describe.
Marom Bikson, a professor of biomedical engineering at City College of New York, recently used a prototype of Thync’s device in a 100-person study (funded by the company) that focused on its calming effects. Bikson says the study showed “with a high degree of confidence” that the device has an effect, although the results varied. “For some people—not everyone—the effect is really profound,” he says. “Within minutes, they’re feeling significantly different in a way that is as powerful as anything else I could imagine short of a narcotic.”
The device uses a form of transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), something that’s been tested in various forms for years but has yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat a specific disease.
In Thync’s device, a barely perceptible electrical current is applied to the skin on your head at different places for the Red Bull effect and for the relaxing effect.
Most TDCS research focuses on trying to use the electrical current to directly affect the outer part of the brain. Thync found that it was able to create strong effects by instead targeting specific nerves and muscles just beneath the skin.
Tyler’s ambitions extend beyond selling an electronic substitute for coffee. In separate work he is developing technology that uses ultrasound to affect the brain directly without surgery or drugs. “It’s a new frontier, with potential that hasn’t been tapped into yet,” he says.