DIY tDCS Start Here


New to DIYtDCS? This is the ‘start here’ collection of articles and posts.

  1. Become a tDCS expert in only a few hours! Davis tDCS Summit 9/5/13.
  2. Marom Bikson Presentation on State of the Art tDCS 8/13.
  3. My podcast interviews – deep dives into tDCS with key players.
  4. tDCS SubReddit is where the action is. Now with tDCS FAQ!
  5. tDCS headset now available.
  6. johnboy6785’s Off-the-shelf tDCS setup with links (Reddit)
  7. Dr. Brent Williams’ DIY device and protocol.
  8. Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus
  9. Better Living Through Electrochemistry
  10. Clinical tDCS trials seek volunteers. All. Search. (Example: “tDCS AND Los Angeles”)
  11. Go deep! ATA at Brmlab continues to develop his tDCS page.
  12. Neuroscience: Brain buzz Nature Magazine
  13. DLPFC / F3 Locator (you’ll need a tape measure with Centimeters)
  14. Searchable database of tDCS articles from
  15. 10–20 international system

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At the end of the stimulation period we found a significant beneficial effect of A-tDCS as compared to baseline and S-tDCS in all our subjects, regardless of word difficulty, although with some inter-individual differences. In the follow-up period, the percentage of correct responses persisted significantly better until the 16th week, when an initial decline in naming performance was observed. Up to the 21st week, the number of correct responses, though no longer significant, was still above the baseline level. These results in a small group of aphasic patients suggest a long-term beneficial effect of on-line A-tDCS.


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Transcranial direct current stimulation facilitates cognitive multi-task performance differentially depending on anode location and subtask | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Interesting especially in relation to Michael Weisend’s success using F10 in skill (target recognition) acquisition. That the research is going in this direction is encouraging. I expect we’ll have a much better understanding of various cognitive enhancement strategies over the next few years.

We compared effects of 30 min prefrontal and parietal stimulation to right and left hemispheres on subtask performance during the first 45 min of training. The strongest effects both overall and for ship flying control and velocity subtasks were seen with a right parietal C4, reference to left shoulder montage, shown by modeling to induce an electric field that includes nodes in both dorsal and ventral attention networks. This is consistent with the re-orienting hypothesis that the ventral attention network is activated along with the dorsal attention network if a new, task-relevant event occurs while visuospatial attention is focused Corbetta et al., 2008. No effects were seen with anodes over sites that stimulated only dorsal C3 or only ventral F10 attention networks. The speed subtask update memory for symbols benefited from an F9 anode over left prefrontal cortex. These results argue for development of tDCS as a training aid in real world settings where multi-tasking is critical.

via Frontiers | Transcranial direct current stimulation facilitates cognitive multi-task performance differentially depending on anode location and subtask | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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Polarity Specific Suppression Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of an external auditory stimulus and affects 10–15% of the Western population. Previous studies have demonstrated the therapeutic effect of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation tDCS over the left auditory cortex on tinnitus loudness, but the effect of this presumed excitatory stimulation contradicts with the underlying pathophysiological model of tinnitus. Therefore, we included 175 patients with chronic tinnitus to study polarity specific effects of a single tDCS session over the auditory cortex 39 anodal, 136 cathodal. To assess the effect of treatment, we used the numeric rating scale for tinnitus loudness and annoyance. Statistical analysis demonstrated a significant main effect for tinnitus loudness and annoyance, but for tinnitus annoyance anodal stimulation has a significantly more pronounced effect than cathodal stimulation. We hypothesize that the suppressive effect of tDCS on tinnitus loudness may be attributed to a disrupting effect of ongoing neural hyperactivity, independent of the inhibitory or excitatory effects and that the reduction of annoyance may be induced by influencing adjacent or functionally connected brain areas involved in the tinnitus related distress network. Further research is required to explain why only anodal stimulation has a suppressive effect on tinnitus annoyance.

via Polarity Specific Suppression Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Tinnitus.
HatTip Reddit user matt2001

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Which is better: coffee or an electric shock to the head? – BoingBoing

So, using tDCS, McKinley’s lab kept 30 people up for 30 hours to see how they fared with and without fatigue interventions. Essentially, they compared the effects of 200 mg of caffeine (about equal to 2 cups of coffee) to 30 minutes of tDCS at two milliamps (mA) applied to an area of the brain called the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, which is very important for the cognitive processes of attention and vigilance. The results suggest that applying electricity to a brain for half an hour is more effective than consuming something caffeinated.

Specifically, the people who were electrically stimulated were more vigilant for longer than those given caffeine — up to six hours versus two. Previous studies found that a shorter duration of tDCS could modulate vigilance for 30 to 90 minutes, which is within the range of the two hours of caffeine action. This time, said McKinley with excitement, “we recorded 6 hours after we gave the stimulation. This time it was 30 minutes of stimulation, and we did not see the performance taper off… there’s got to be a point where it drops off again, we just haven’t reached that… We were very surprised that 6 hours later it was still working… exciting, but also a little baffling.”

via Whichisbetter:coffeeoranelectricshocktothehead?-BoingBoing.

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Your Body on Brain Doping |

To create the next wave of super-athletes, Red Bull has turned to a novel new treatment: trickling a small electric current through the brain’s motor cortex. Just don’t call it electroshock therapy.

mike day red bull project endurance

Mike Day undergoes physiological testing during Red Bull Project Endurance. Fellow participant Jesse Thomas said the week was “intense, painful, limit pushing, and shocking…literally.”     Photo: Michael Darter/Red Bull

via Your Body on Brain Doping | The Fit List |

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Magnets Can Improve Your Memory | TIME

Though TMS not tDCS, it would be interesting to see the original paper (paywall). My understanding is that the hippocampus is a difficult target for tDCS. But perhaps insights from this study could lead to ideas for a ‘memory enhancing’ tDCS montage.

To test this, Voss and his team of researchers had 16 healthy adults between the ages of 21 and 40 undergo MRIs so the researchers could learn the participants’ brain structures. Then, the participants took a memory test which consisted of random associations between words and images that they were asked to remember. Then, the participants underwent brain stimulation with TMS for 20 minutes a day for five days in a row. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain. It doesn’t typically hurt, and has been described by some as a light knocking sensation. The researchers stimulated the regions of the brain involved in the memory network.

Throughout the five days, the participants were tested on recall after the stimulation and underwent more MRIs. The participants also underwent a faked placebo procedure. The results showed that after about three days, the stimulation resulted in improved memory, and they got about 30% more associations right with stimulation than without. Not only that, but the MRIs showed that the brain regions became more synchronized by the TMS.

via Magnets Can Improve Your Memory | TIME.

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Zapping Your Brain With TDCS Could Help You Lose Weight

Felipe Fregni, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who was involved with the research, has a theory on why that happened. “The students ingested fewer calories because they could make more rational decisions,” he says.

He says tDCS may have dialed up the activity in the students’ prefrontal cortices—where the stimulation was applied and where they make rational, considered decisions, which in turn dialed down the students’ initial knee-jerk reaction to eat food when they saw it. This makes good sense: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is known to be an area of the brain that enables us to inhibit temptation.

“It’s the part of the brain most developed in humans compared to monkeys, and it relates to some of the more advanced abilities we have,” says Roi Cohen Kadosh, a neuropsychologist at the University of Oxford who is another of the leading lights in tDCS research. “It’s involved in learning and working memory, and it’s highly connected to other brain regions, such as ones involved with addictions and rewards, and food is rewarding.”

via Zapping Your Brain With TDCS Could Help You Lose Weight.

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The Case for OpenSource DIY Neuroenhancement | Infectious Perspectives

But if a group of neuroscientists who have experience with TDCS built an OpenSource device and explained how to build and use it in a public forum, such as YouTube, then the DIY community would be armed with the necessary knowledge to execute legal, safe, and controlled brain stimulation. This would bypass the necessity of shifting power into the hands of profit-seeking corporations or eavesdropping government agencies, and encourage a self-initiated and self-regulated approach to the direct manipulation of brain states. We manipulate our brain states all the time, actually. This common manipulation is called thinking, and individuals should have as much control of that as possible.

via The Case for OpenSource DIY Neuroenhancement | Infectious Perspectives.

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NEUROMODEC » University of Florida tDCS Workshop 2014

Neuromodec presents

University of Florida: tDCS Workshop 2014

An intensive two-day international meeting dedicated on the design and implementation of tDCS in clinical and research settings. Update on 2014 state-of-the-art methodology with presentations and discussions on the development of professional standards for safety, validity and reproducibility of functional outcomes in tDCS applications.

September 4th & 5th 2014
University of Florida
Clinical Translational Research Building
2004 Mowry Road,
Gainesville, Florida 32610

Workshop Leadership

Adam J. Woods, Ph.D.

tDCS Course Director

Marom Bikson, Ph.D.

tDCS Course Co-Director

Helena Knotkova, Ph.D.

tDCS Course Co-Director

Peter K. Toshev

tDCS Workshop Director

via NEUROMODEC » University of Florida tDCS Workshop 2014.

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Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources. : tDCS

User x0rn just posted this to the tDCS SubReddit. Check original source (link at bottom) for updates.

Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources.(self.tDCS)
by x0rn

There seemed to be a lack of cited montage sources. Here is a compiled list:

**NOTE: Here is a link to the 10/20 placement chart. DLPFC (F3) means Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Position F3*

Anode (+) RED Cathode (-) BLACK Target Behavior Study
DLPFC (F3) DLPFC (F4) Decreased depression/ pain / increased organization Smith & Clithero, (2009)
DLPFC (F3) Right shoulder Decreased depression / reduced food alcohol craving Smith & Clithero, (2009)
LPFC (F3) Supra Orbital (Fp2) Improved Mood Vanderhasselt et. al., (2013)
DLPFC (F4) DLPFC (F3) Reduce risk taking Fecteau, et al., (2007)
Mastoid (P10) DLPFC (F4) Increased impulsiveness / Increased present awareness Beeli, et al., (2008), Ledoux, (1996)
Left Orbital (Fp1) DLPFC (F4) Improved social interaction / reduced punishment of unfair behavior Knoch, et al., (2008)
DLPFC(F3) DLPFC (F4) Reduced cigarette, alcohol, junk food craving Fregni, et al., (2007), Boggio et al., (2007) Fregni, et al., (2007)
Orbital PFC (Fp1 and/or Fp2) Shoulder Attention improvement Gladwin, et al., (2012)
Temporal (T4) Temporla(T3) Insight improvement / “Savant Learning” Chi & Snider (2011)
Temporal (T4 & T6) Parietal (P4) Shoulder Improved socialization Sébastien Hétu (20101
Parietal (P4) Parietal (P3) Improved math understating / increased verbal impariment Kadosh (2010)
Occipital (O1, Oz, and or O2) base of neck or CZ Improves visual motor reaction times Anatal & Paulus (2008)
Base of neck Occipital (O1 & O2) Reduced migraine pain Antal (2011)
Temporal (T3) Shoulder Improved audio processing Ladeira, et. al., (2011)
C3 and or C4 Orbital (Fp1 or Fp2) Improved fine motor control /reduced pain oppisite side of anode Lindenberg et al., (2010), Fregni, (2006) Vineset, et. al, (2006)
Supra Orbital (FP1 or Fp2 depending on pain side) Neck (opposite side) Pain reduction /possible increase in impulsiveness Mendonca (2011) Beeli (2008)
Right Temple (F10) Left shoulder Accelerated Learning Kruse (2008) DARPAD
DLPC (F3 &F4) Mastiod (P10 & P9) Theta-tDCS2 Improved sleep Marshal (2011)2

Please share more if you have them. I’ll add to the list.

1 Source article was indirectly talking about using tDCS to map social interactions.

2 The author used theta-tDCS which seems to induce theta waves unlike traditional tDCS.

via Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources. : tDCS.

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