DIY tDCS Start Here

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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. Foc.us 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 trans-cranial.com

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The Cognitive Kit

I have no affiliation with this device. Just like to keep track of what’s out there and noticed this was recently released.

The Cognitive Kit is available for sale. The Cognitive Kit is a direct current device used for cognitive enhancement purposes. The Kit was designed for ease of use, comfort, and efficacy. Included in the purchase: Main unit which contains simple switching mechanism for power on, current level, and current out Cables hardwired into the Main unit so there is no chance of mistaking Anode from Cathode. Top quality Amrex Sponge electrodes are included for comfort of treatment and less side effects Headband to keep electrodes in place Two 9V batteries for more sessions without changing batteries, and the extra voltage allows a not so perfect electrode/head interface and still regulate 2mA included in the Main unit.Everything is included to quickly set up The Cogntive Kit for a cognitive enchancement session. The Cognitive Kit sells for $200 and is only shipping to US and Canada currently. Shipment will be $20 and sent to FEDEX within two days by FEDEX Gnd.

via Get your very own.

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Collected knowledge from a new tDCS convert : tDCS

Well put together summary post from ‘MagicC’ on Reddit includes a few links I hadn’t seen.

I’ve been using the depression montage, and I’m pleased to report that it’s been very effective. I feel much less stressed out and anxious, and I have a calm clarity that I find incredibly heartening. It feels like I have greater freedom of action i.e. I think of more possibilities, instead of getting bogged down in dead ends. I’m experiencing a quieting of my self-destructive inner dialogue, which is improving my mood dramatically. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but so far, I’m very happy with my purchase.

via Collected knowledge from a new tDCS convert : tDCS.

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This Procedure May Improve Your Brain — and Uncover the Real You – NYTimes.com

The real you?

Sally Adee, who tried tDCS as part of an article she reported at The New Scientist, was featured on Radiolab’s episode and later wrote a personal essay about the treatment. The shocks made her feel “like I had just had an excellent cup of coffee, but without the caffeine jitters. I felt clear-headed and like myself, just sharper. Calmer. Without fear and without doubt.”
That clarity was emotionally profound: For days after the treatment, her mind was free of the nagging voices of self-doubt and fear that she realized she lived with daily.
Talking with Mr. Abumrad on his show, she said: “I was this person I hadn’t experienced before, and I thought maybe this is the actual core person who I am when all my baggage isn’t weighing on me. It was like somebody had wiped a really steamy window and I was able to look at the world for what it was.”

via This Procedure May Improve Your Brain — and Uncover the Real You – NYTimes.com.

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DIY tDCS Safety Standards | SpeakWisdom

Brent Williams of SpeakWisdom just published a checklist for DIY tDCSers. Links at bottom to full list.

DIY tDCS Safety Standards

As a potential or current do-it-yourself tDCS user I agree to the following:

1.   I will, if reasonably possible, seek out a medical professional for tDCS advice, treatments and follow-up.

2.   If I have cranial scar tissue, an implant, or other unusual medical condition, I will seek clearance from my doctor before using tDCS. If I have a seizure disorder I will refrain from using tDCS or use it only under direct supervision of qualified medical personnel.

3.   I will not, under any circumstances, directly connect a battery to my head. I understand that I could greatly exceed the maximum 2 mA current limit used by tDCS researchers, possibly harming myself in the process.

via DIY tDCS Safety Standards | SpeakWisdom.

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Shockingly Smart: The Physics Behind Brain Stimulation | PhysicsCentral

Contrary to the popular notion of the brain as an organic computer, the signals responsible for most behavior aren’t transmitted purely by electricity. The motion of ions, atoms with either a deficit or surplus of electrons from their neutral state, is responsible for regulating the release of neurotransmitters, the “firing” of the neuron that leads to thought or sensation.

By applying a current in a certain direction, tDCS can effectively increase or decrease electrical polarization, affecting the chance that neurons in a given region of the brain will fire depending on the orientation of the subject’s synapses and whether a positive or negative current is applied. The potential to decrease neuronal activity seems just as important as the potential to increase it by way of medical and psychiatric applications of the technology. Disorders like schizophrenia, for instance, seem to be linked to over-excitability in certain parts of the brain.

via Physics Buzz: Shockingly Smart: The Physics Behind Brain Stimulation.

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Using Noninvasive Brain Stimulation to Accelerate Learning and Enhance Human Performance

Before you strap a tDCS device on your head in order to learn something new, have you studied Spaced Repetition or Interleaving? Have you mastered software like Anki? Or language learning techniques? As the paper quoted below makes so clear, tDCS adds another very complex set of variables to the notion of accelerated learning. While it may be practical for the military to be pursuing optimized tDCS-enhanced training methods for very specific skill sets, I do think we’re years away from practical DIY learning protocols involving tDCS.

Although tDCS shows promise as a training method, important questions remain unanswered. To maximize effects on training, optimal stimulation schedules i.e., every day, twice a week, etc. need to be determined. Juvina, Jastrzembski, and McKinley 2013 used a computational modeling approach to predict the optimal tDCS scheduling, but empirical validation is required. Second, at what point in training should tDCS be applied? One study showed that tDCS was more beneficial in the early phases of training Bullard et al., 2011, whereas another showed benefits at all stages McKinley et al., 2013. Importantly, these studies involved different learning tasks, so it is possible that the optimal time point for tDCS efficacy is task dependent. Likewise, different electrode placements may be optimal for different stages of learning. Third, how long is the learned information retained, and does this change with repeated doses of tDCS? Initial evidence suggests that tDCS-induced improvements in learning are retained for at least 24 hr Falcone et al., 2012; however, there is little evidence of exactly how long the new knowledge is retained. Finally, the “gold standard” of any training technique is not only whether it is effective in accelerating learning on a particular task but whether its effects transfer to others tasks within the same cognitive domain Dahlin, Neely, Larsson, Backman, & Nyberg, 2008; Strenziok et al., 2014. TDCS will ultimately need to be held to this high standard

via Using Noninvasive Brain Stimulation to Accelerate Learning and Enhance Human Performance.
Download the pdf: Using Noninvasive Brain Stimulation to Accelerate Learning and Enhance Human Performance

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“Cognitive Enhancement by Non-invasive Brain Stimulation” with Roy H. Hamilton

An intelligent introduction to tDCS and TMS in the context of Cognitive Enhancement. Dr.  Roy Hamilton (at around 19:00 in the video, the beginning is basic intro boilerplate) discusses studies which demonstrate significant positive cognitive effects in healthy individuals. I especially liked Dr. Hamilton’s take on the concerns and potential risks of non-invasive brain stimulation which he discusses towards the end of his talk.

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9-Volt Nirvana – Radiolab

In the last couple years, tDCS has been all over the news. Researchers claim that juicing the brain with just 2 milliamps (think 9-volt battery) can help with everything from learning languages, to quitting smoking, to overcoming depression. We bring Michael Weisend, neuroscientist at Wright State Research Institute, into the studio to tell us how it works (Bonus: you get to hear Jad get his brain zapped). Peter Reiner and Nick Fitz of the University of British Columbia help us think through the consequences of a world where anyone with 20 dollars and access to Radioshack can make their own brain zapper. And finally, Sally tells us about the unexpected after-effects of a day of super-charged sniper training and makes us wonder about world where you can order up a state of mind.

via 9-Volt Nirvana – Radiolab.

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BBC – Future – Brain stimulation: The military’s mind-zapping project

Brain imaging suggested that the best way to do this would be to stimulate the motor cortex while the volunteer was doing the task. But McKinley and his team added a twist: after the stimulation, they use tDCS in reverse to inhibit the volunteers’ prefrontal cortex, which is involved in conscious thinking. The day after the stimulation, the volunteers are brought back for re-testing. “The results we’re getting are fantastic,” McKinley says. People getting a hit of both mid-test and inhibitory stimulation did 250% better in their retests, far outperforming those who had received neither. Used in this way, it seems that tDCS can turbo-boost the time it takes for someone to go from being a novice at a task to being an expert.

via BBC – Future – Brain stimulation: The military’s mind-zapping project.

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