A brain implant could stop sexual predators in their tracks by zapping them in their 'moment of weakness'. The device developed by Stanford University targets the nucleus accumbens brain region, which controls the survivalist urges for food and sex.
The team identified a a particular brain signal which is omitted moments before we act on an impulse, overwhelming us with a sense of desire that drowns out inhibitions.
Testing mice, the researchers found that a quick zap to the nucleus accumbens could offset that brain signal, forcing sexual predators to consider the social consequences.
Lead author Casey Halpern said the device could also be used to prevent suicide attempts, a heroin injection, a burst of binge eating or alcohol intake, or a sudden bout of uncontrolled rage.
However, he warned, they can also be dangerous.
Indeed, the publication about his device comes amid widespread debates about sexual assault in all contexts.
To investigate impulses, Dr Halpern looked at binge-eating mice.
He discovered that, in keeping with his research on all impulsive behavior, these mice experienced a certain type of brain signal to the nucleus accumbens shortly before entering a binge, and that signal seemed to overwhelm them.