Deep Brain Stimulation using convergent, stereotactic radiofrequency
The helmet was a funny looking collection of antennas and wires, but I guess esthetics were not really part of the design goal. My mom (Carla Johnson), and Lydia Salia were friends. Mom had told me about her. She was some kind of master hypnotist which was very cool to a teenage boy. Mom had told her I was a whiz with computers and electronics, so naturally, I was tasked with building this hypnotic contraption called a TCMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation). The concept was fascinating. By applying strong magnetic fields, a person could stimulate certain areas of the brain. Ms. Salia had come to our house and spent a couple hours explaining the concept.
“Lydia, this is Ralph. Ralph, this is Lydia”. Lydia was studying me, dissecting me. It made me uncomfortable. Then she smiled at me and everything seemed better.
Did I think I could build it? Yes, I knew I could build it. I told Ms. Salia it would probably take 3 or 4 months. I had to order parts, assemble them, and then test the device. Ms. Salia gave me $2,000 for the project. I figured that was more than enough.
Long story short, I spent the first two weeks diving into the scientific literature. I learned so much about neuroanatomy and electrophysiology that I could rival most neuroscientists. My Mom says I have Asperger's syndrome and an IQ too high to be accurately measured. This was going to be a challenge, nonetheless.
I bought a bicycle helmet, an anatomically accurate model of the human brain, electrodes, and a power supply. While researching the design, I determined that direct brain radiofrequency stimulation could produce similar results without having to work with bulky magnets and such.
The literature was replete with articles discussing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment of movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and essential tremor. Specific brain structures targeted in the movement disorders are the basal ganglia and thalamic nuclei. The challenge for me is I needed to deliver the electrical stimulus externally and not by intracranial electrodes, inside the brain, as done in the medical centers. I decided that the doctors and scientists using DBS were not particularly bright. Had they not heard of stereotactic frequency augmentation? Like the gamma knife?
I could augment the amplitude by using multiple electrodes emitting low wattage radio frequency angled at specific brain structures. Different angles would ensure the beams converged at the brain structure I wanted to target. The anatomic brain model would provide precise targeting angles. This was going to be too easy. Well, except for the possibility of generating too high of an amplitude, creating heat like a microwave, and frying a brain region. That would be more like a gamma knife. I didn't want that...
I began the laborious process of drilling the helmet and fixing the electrodes in the helmet at precise angles in order to create overlapping beams. The challenge was overcoming the heating generated by the radiofrequency. The optimal frequency, one that would overcome the -60mv resting state of a neuronal cell membrane was just above the microwave range. About 2 Kilohertz seemed optimal. Medical doctors implant electrodes inside the brains of patients they need to treat in order to precisely target a particular brain structure and to minimize distance to the target. The farther the distance, the higher the amplitude (wattage) of the radiofrequency current needed. The higher the wattage, the more heat is generated and possibility of thermal injury.
I settled on three different electrodes for the first three brain structures. I needed to target each, stereo-tactically angled so as to concentrate the beam at that location. The areas of the brain I targeted were based on input from Lydia, at least initially. There were other brain structures like the nucleus accumbens associated with addictive behaviors with intriguing possibilities.
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the medial prefrontal and the posterior cingulate cortex would require 3 precisely aligned electrodes each. The hippocampus and amygdala were larger brain structures and would require 6 dedicated electrodes for each structure. That was a total of 21 electrodes for the main brain structures I would target for phase 1. I had purchased 30 electrodes, so I was good. The hardest part was precisely aligning the electrodes so that they would overlap, or more accurately blanket the targeted brain structure. I wasn't looking to heat anything up like you would with a microwave or gamma knife, but rather stimulate action potentials (electrical activity) in these specific areas. As part of the helmet, I attached a second grid of passive sensors. These would capture brain wave activity and act as a crude measure of the effectiveness of the DBS helmet. That was the name for my helmet. Transcranial Deep Brain Radiofrequency Stimulation (DBS for short). If I was to enter this in a science fair, I would get first place.
In 30 days, I had my first crude device. I put it on my little sister Rachel, who agreed to volunteer for $5 and I switched it on. Her eyes crossed and she started flailing her arms and flopping around. I freaked and turned it off, but she kept flailing. Then she started laughing hysterically.
"You little shit. You scared the crap out of me." Then I thought, what went wrong. "Did you feel anything? Anything at all?"
"Maybe a little tickle on my scalp, but that’s all."
That meant the amplitude was still not sufficient. Better to start slow and avoid unnecessary brain damage. I went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments and a week later was ready to test it again.
"Sis, you ready to try it on again?"
"The price is $10 now."
"You little extortionist."
"I am not possessed" she said defiantly. "Oh, you're thinking 'exorcist.' Funny, no that is not what extortionist means."
I reluctantly agreed to her higher price and placed the helmet on her head a second time.
"How long is this going to take? Sally is having a"
I flipped the switch on and Rachel stopped talking mid-sentence. She was staring straight ahead, smacking her lips, and blinking at a fixed frequency, maybe 4 hertz. That was lower Theta brain wave frequency, just above Delta sleep. My laptop was connected to the helmet and it confirmed Theta/Delta brain waves. Was this due to activation of the left claustrum and anterior-dorsal insula nucleus? I wasn't precisely targeting these areas so was I somehow disrupting the nucleus accumbens since it controlled slow wave sleep. I switched those particular electrodes off, and the brain waves switched to upper theta. She stopped lip smacking and blinking. That meant I still needed to adjust the aim of those electrodes. I was getting frequency bleed into adjacent brain structures.
"Rachel, can you hear me?"
She was silent, unable to communicate.
She was zonked. Maybe the speech center or Broca's area was being effected. If so, she would still be able to understand me even if she could not communicate.
I decided to test my theory.
"Rachel, you really enjoyed this experience, and you don't want any money for doing this. Rather, you would like to give me $5."
Rachel was a tight wad, so if this worked the helmet was a success. I turned it off and Rachel blinked a few times and looked around. "What happened? Did I fall asleep?"
"I guess you could say that."
"Wow. That was... different. I had a wonderful dream. But now it's fading." Rachel paused, as if she was contemplating some monumental 'ask'. What if I pay you $5, can I try it again?"
"Sure, but not right now. I need to make some adjustments, so I don't cook your brain. What was your dream?"
Sis turned bright red.
Oh shit, I had all the electrodes on. I was stimulating the sex centers of the brain. No wonder she wanted another go with it.
Rachel was game for more tests. I learned how to target specific brain structures that would arrest all volitional control. I could insert memories, generate behaviors, and even stimulate sexual arousal. I could put her to sleep and wake her with increasing predictability. But I was missing something.
I went back to the drawing board. Two obscure articles that filled in the missing pieces were in the Journal of Neuropathology.
and the Awake and Alive Mind
These better explained how hormones like oxytocin and neurotransmitters like dopamine mediated glutamatergic axonal signal propagation. Could I activate targeted brain pathways without the additional ingredients called for in the recipe? I wasn't sure, but I was eager to try. I added the remaining electrodes to target the new brain structures I wanted to test and started to think of who I might ask to volunteer. I didn’t want to overtax Rachel’s brain and be accused of keeping her out of Harvard.
My friend from elementary school, Lisa Kline, was always interested in trying new things. I bet she would like to help. We were both nerds... and both virgins at the old age of 17. At least that was what Lisa had confided to me one night after we 'borrowed' some of my parent’s pot. I thought back to that night. We had made out on my parent’s couch. I was too nervous to try anything. Lisa had kissed me and then taken my hand and placed it on her breast. I just about died. I developed an erection and even came a little bit in my pants. That was as far as it went. I wondered now if I blew the opportunity of a lifetime.
"I met Lisa after school and told her about the helmet. Besides activating specific, targeted brain structures, I can also shut the brain down.
Lisa chimed in, "So, you can put someone to sleep?"
"Yes. The left claustrum and anterior-dorsal insula nucleus, when stimulated, turn your conscious brain off."
"Or make you want to fuck nerd boy." She smiled and reached over to squeeze my hand.
"No, that's the hippocampus, amygdala and nucleus accumbens."
"Ok. I'm game. You promise not to turn me into a vegetable?"
"That didn't happen to my sister, Rachel, so I think I've moved past that risk."
Lisa looked at me uneasily, "You're kidding, right?"
"Kidding about what?" I hadn't made a joke. Girls can be so odd.
"Can it raise my IQ?"
"That is a distinct possibility. We know from research involving TCMS that we can improve concentration. There can be transient improvements in learning, memory and cognition."
Ok. Where do I sign?"
There she goes again. "I just put the helmet on you and turn it on. There is nothing to sign."
"Can it turn you from a computer into a human being?"
I understood the gist of what she was getting at. "My mother says my Asperger's is a gift."
"If I were you, I would see what the store's return policies are."
Half the time Lisa didn't make any sense. It was altogether, at times, infuriating. I glared at her.
“Stop being so irascible,” she chided me.
The female brain is smaller than the male brain. I needed to remember that and learn to be more patient.
Neuroanatomical differences between male and female brains.
Sexual response in men is tempered primarily by visual sensory input, while the female brain is attuned more to emotional input. Interesting side note. The amygdala in gay men is more similar to the amygdala in the female brain than the male brain. Females have greater volume in the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, superior temporal cortex, lateral parietal cortex, and insula. Males, on average, have greater volume in the ventral temporal and occipital regions. Each of these regions is responsible for processing different types of information and the different behaviors observed in men and women when exposed to sexual stimulation.
I returned to explaining the basis for my helmet. It was like I was talking to a child.
“The reentrant architecture of primate brains can and does generate spontaneous rhythmic activity. The mutual exchange of action potentials transmitted via reciprocal paths generates oscillatory behavior such as that observed on the EEG. I’ve observed that stimulation of the claustral electrode reproducibly results in a complete arrest of volitional behavior, unresponsiveness, and amnesia without negative motor symptoms or aphasia. The disruption of consciousness does not outlast the stimulation and it occurs without any epileptiform discharges. There is a significant increase in correlation for interactions affecting medial parietal and posterior frontal channels during stimulations that disrupt consciousness compared with those that do not. This suggest that the left claustrum/anterior insula is an important part of a network that subserves consciousness, and that disruption of consciousness is related to increased EEG signal synchrony within frontal–parietal networks. The trick is to pulse the radiofrequency in such a way as to propagate the action potentials in the brain and most important, give enough time between pulses for blood vessels to carry off excess heat generated by the electromagnetic radiation.”
I was quite proud of my understanding of the science and my explanation. I looked over at Lisa. Her eyes appeared almost glazed over, like she was in trance.
“Whatever you say nerd boy.”
I secured the helmet on her head and made sure the electrodes were snug against her scalp and aligned optimally. “I want to run a calibration on your brain. Make sure the electrodes are optimally aligned. Are you ready?”
Lisa thought to ask me something, “Before you start, can I...”
I switched it on and she stopped midsentence just like Rachel had. I observed her pupils dilate and her mouth droop open. The EEG confirmed she was in the upper Theta range. I turned it off to make a small adjustment.
“… ask you a question? Can you help me remember where I left my Mom’s car keys?”
That was interesting. She was apparently unaware that she was interrupted mid-sentence.
I switched it back on and she returned to the same blank stare. She should be receptive to my suggestions. Ms. Salia had loaned me a book on hypnosis. She said she wanted to use this device to induce trance in resistant ‘alphas’. If I could induce trance with it, then it would meet specifications. I kind of understood what she was getting at. I decided to test the ‘power of suggestion’.
“Lisa, can you hear me?”
“Lisa, you feel so good. So relaxed. More wonderful than you have felt in a very long time.”
I observed a smile cross her lips. I imagined a neurotransmitter cascade, primarily involving dopamine and serotonin, modulating the nucleus accumbens, augmenting an exchange of action potentials transmitted via reciprocal thalamic-hypothalamic pathways.
Thinking like that got me hot and I noticed I was becoming aroused.
Her conscious brain was offline. The salience network was active and suppressing any analytical functions. I slowly increased the current to the brain sex centers. Lisa’s pupils had returned to normal, but they dilated again, and I noticed an increase in heart rate and respiration.
“Lisa, you know I am naturally shy, and you need to be more aggressive in helping me overcome my shyness. You are very aroused now. Incredibly aroused. All you can think about is being with me. You realize you are falling in love with me. Desperately in love with me. How do you feel right now?”
“I am so horny. I want you so bad.”
I thought to myself. Maybe I should get a patent on this thing.
“In a moment you will wake up and you will want to have your way with me. You will not take no for an answer. You will believe this is entirely your own idea and you will have no conscious recollection of my instructions.”
She was primed and ready to be let loose. Although I was excited about this final test, my scientific curiosity was still the driving factor.
I switched off the helmet and helped her unfasten it from her head.
She was looking at me intently... studying me, like a predator might study it’s prey before pouncing.
That was what she did. One moment I was sitting still, the next moment she pounced, knocking me over. She was kissing me, squeezing my nipples, then she reached down to rub me… you know where.
The rest is a whirlwind. She pulled my shirt over my head and unfastened my pants. She pulled them off hurriedly and then yanked off my underwear. I kind of felt like I was being raped. Then she took me into her mouth. Ok, scratch the rape bit. That felt great. I wanted this as much as she did. I sprang to life in her mouth. She was struggling, trying to get her shirt and bra off without losing me from her mouth. I thought it was rather amusing. Finally, she had to relinquish control of my penis long enough to get her jeans and panties off.
She climbed on top of me and guided me into her vagina. Maybe I was too big. I wasn’t slipping in easily. She positioned herself directly over me, then dropped. I felt something give way and realized I was buried in her. She let out a little scream and remained motionless. Then she slowly started raising and lowering herself onto my penis.
I thought about what was happening to me. To both of us. Orgasm required the interplay of both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. During sexual arousal, vasocongestion of the pelvic organs results in the formation of a vaginal transudate through the estrogenized vaginal epithelial cells (vaginal lubrication), accompanied by vaginal elongation and uterine elevation (“tenting”). Near orgasm, the outer third of her vagina would form an orgasmic platform. At orgasm, Lisa’s pelvic floor muscles will contract rhythmically. This was all coordinated by multiple different, subconscious brain structures. The nucleus accumbens, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, operculum, right angular gyrus, paracentral lobule, cerebellum, hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus, ventral tegmental area, and dorsal raphe.
Again, thinking about the various neuroanatomy got me so hot.
After several minutes of this, Lisa began to emit a low, guttural moan. I figured this was a manifestation of her orgasm. Then she intensified riding up and down on my penis as she had a final, involuntary shudder and powerful orgasm. Her orgasm, interestingly, triggered subconscious neuronal discharges in my own brain, that resulted in my own ejaculation. I could visualize action potentials cascading to the insula, operculum, amygdala, hypothalamus and other structures of my brain in a manner so as to induce my own orgasm. It was altogether fascinating. When it was over, when I finally pulled out, a huge load of sperm came gushing out. It was mixed with blood. She was a virgin. Well, not anymore.
Lisa leaned over me and kissed me, thanking me.
Once again, I was confused. What is she thanking me for? She had helped me with my experiment. She had confirmed that the helmet could be used to induce deep trance and specific behaviors. In her case, intense sexual arousal.
I told her good job and started to pack everything up.
She grabbed my arm and asked me, “When can I see you again?”
“In school, tomorrow… like you see me every day, silly.”
“That is not what I meant”, Lisa sighed.
“I got all the data I need, so I don’t really need to use the helmet on you again. I’m turning this over to Ms. Salia. After all, she paid for it.”
Lisa looked sad for some reason. I could not figure women out. They were too complicated. Certainly, too complicated for me.
Ms. Lydia was scheduled to come over and get a demonstration of my DBS helmet. Rachel and I were waiting patiently with the device. She asked, “So, how did it go?”
“It works as advertised. The current has to be high enough to overcome the skull and the distance, so some thermal effect on brain tissue is unavoidable. I recommend you pulse the radio frequency and keep sessions short. My sister was my test subject. Her intelligence seems pretty much intact, although she has developed a tic and she seems to be hypersexual now. I’m hoping these effects are temporary.”
Rachel smiled, then turned her head to the side suddenly and made a clicking sound. Then she recovered as if nothing happened. This behavior repeated every 1 to 2 minutes. It was a little like Tourette’s without the curse words. “Rachel, how do you feel?”
“I feel ok, although this tic is annoying. But the side effect of these terrific orgasms makes up for it. I masturbate like 5 times a day now and I always cum so hard.”
Lydia looked at me sternly. Disapprovingly? I couldn’t tell.
“What did you do to her?”
“I think there was some thermal injury and since I targeted the brain sex center, it might be that there is some spontaneous epileptiform discharges. Not a seizure, but just heightened activity. As the brain heals, I expect this to go away. Well, unless the thermal injury was enough to result in scar tissue. That shouldn’t happen in the model that I am giving you unless you override the amplitude delimiter. Also, I have the pulse generator cycle the stimulation and redirect to adjacent targets after a threshold is exceeded. This is necessary anyway to propagate the action potentials so that you can program your subject. The device is more accurately a Pulsed Harmonic Amplitude Latency locked action potential sequencer.”
“That doesn’t make for a very clever acronym. I think I shall call it the Pulsed Harmonic Amplitude Latency Locked Ultra Sequencer or Phallus for short.”
Ralph pondered that. “Phallus is the male sexual organ. How is that at all related to deep brain stimulation?”
“Lets just say the device is a Mind fuck.”
Ralph had one last bit of wisdom. “If you need to use it for more than a few minutes, or if the helmet becomes warm, then you need to either switch it off for a while or dissipate the heat. A modification whereby you circulate ice water through the helmet would help alleviate some of the thermal challenge. If the subject is unconscious, then circulating ice water will not interrupt the trance or whatever it is you are doing to their brain.”
“Good to know Ralph. Perhaps you can build be a next generation helmet. Here is another $5,000 to order the cooling apparatus. Is that sufficient?”
“Yes mam. I will probably need another test subject as I think my sister has exceeded a safe level of exposure. My new girlfriend, Lisa, seems amenable to anything I ask these days, so I will test it on her and record my findings.”
“Very good Ralph. Now can you go over the operating procedures?"
Ralph gave Lydia detailed instructions on how to pulse the signals. Switches were labeled that identified which brain structures would be affected along with a key to describe the primary functions of a brain region.
"Ok, got it. Now how about a quick demonstration?"
"My Mom might volunteer. Mom, can I show Lydia the deep brain stimulation helmet by trying it on you?"
"I think not. But your Dad is due home any moment. Why don't you try it on him?"
"Ok. But I can't leave it on for very long. It can get pretty warm."
Lydia and my mom spoke for a few minutes and then my dad arrived.
"Ralph, why don't you and your sister go to your rooms and do your homework. Lydia will take it from here."
Bud Johnson was amenable. "This won't make me a retard will it?"
Like most men, he was filterless. "No. We'll just try some simple suggestions."
Lydia fastened the helmet in place and switched it on. Bud's face went blank. "You are hungry. In fact, you are starving."
Lydia then switched the device off. "Maybe this can wait. I am fucking starving."
Carla leaned over and whispered something in Lydia's ear that made her smile.
"What are you two bitches talking about? C'mon, no secr.." Lydia reactivated the Phallus helmet and Bud stopped talking.
"You are no longer hungry. Rather, you are aroused. You haven't, in the past, liked to pleasure your wife orally, but now that is all you can think of. In fact, you love it when she is dominant and commands you. The idea of her ordering you around is a huge turn on. You feel a wave of euphoria when you obey her. You feel sad when you disobey. You will enjoy doing whatever chores she gives for you to complete. In the future, Carla needs only to command you to 'Sleep' and you will instantly fall into deep trance and follow her instructions. In a moment you will wake up and have no conscious memory of these instructions, but they will be active. Cemented deep in your subconscious. You look up to your wife. You worship her. You would do anything for her."
With that Lydia simply switched the helmet off.
"Did you start yet? Hey, I'm no longer hungry."
Bud looked over at Carla and smiled while placing his hand on her leg. "Honey, could we go to the bedroom? I really, really want to do something that I think you will really enjoy."
Carla looked at Lydia and smiled, "Thank you Lydia. I'll let you know how things work out."