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iDosing: Harmless craze or digital drug?

By Paul O’Reilly

According to some reports, parents who have worked hard to keep their kids off substances like marijuana or narcotics now have a new addiction to worry about – digital music that can reportedly alter a listener's brain patterns to simulate a drug-induced high.

The phenomenon, which is being referred to as “iDosing”, was first reported on by Oklahoma News 9 TV and has since been picked up by media outlets worldwide.

According to Ryan Single of Wired, iDosing involves donning headphones and listening to music – mostly a droning noise – which web sites marketing the downloads claim will give you a high. iDosing tracks have names such as Gates of Hades and Turmoil.

Several videos, like this one, have been posted on YouTube and other sites showing teenagers shaking violently or exhibiting other symptoms of extreme distress. Many kids that have experienced iDosing say it mimics the sensations you can feel through taking drugs such as Ecstasy or smoking cannabis.

Unlikely as it may sound, the iDosing phenomenon has caught the attention of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, which released a statement warning kids not to listen to the supposedly mind-altering music.

But not everyone is buying into the dangers of iDosing.

In a July 21 blog entry, Dave Pell of Gizmodo wrote: “So let me get this straight. Kids are putting on some headphones, lying down and cranking some really monotonous music and that’s supposed to be the Internet-era drug we should worry about? That’s like worrying that a crack addict is drinking too much decaf.”

Scientists also say that the phenomenon known as iDosing is harmless and nothing new. Dr Helane Wahbeh, a Naturopathic Physician and Clinician Researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University, told NPR News that iDosing is more properly known as “binaural beat therapy”, which has been used to treat everything from sleep disorders to anxiety to PMS.

“Binaural beats happen when opposite ears receive two different sound waves,” said Dr Wahbeh. “When you listen to these sounds with stereo headphones, the listener senses the difference between the two frequencies as another beat that sounds like it's coming from the inside of the head.”

Perhaps Dave Pell summed it up best when he said: “If iDosing means putting on your headphones and being alone in your head for a few minutes at a time, then it sounds more like a cure than a disease.”

Comment by Deffe_, posted 7/28/2010, 5:50 AM:

Yes! Finally someone with some sense on this incredibly dumb panic craze.
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