Gamma Waves Enhance the Brain’s Immune System to Treat Mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

Foc.us v2 40hz tACS

I was first alerted to the story from a December 7 article in the Guardian, “Strobe lighting provides a flicker of hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s“. Researchers from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, working with (let’s call them) ‘Alzehiemer’s mice’, had discovered that flashing a light at 40hz (on-off at 40 times per second) increased gamma wave oscillations in the brain which led to the reduction of Amyloid beta (think, plaque) through the activation of microglia ‘clean-up’ immune cells. Here, let them explain it!

The paper, Gamma frequency entrainment attenuates amyloid load and modifies microglia makes clear that the light-flickering affected the visual cortex, which makes sense, as the light reaches the brain through the eyes. But wait, thinks I, what about tACS (transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation)… haven’t I seen numerous papers implying the ability to ‘entrain’ brain waves with tACS? What if you could increase 40hz Gamma in other parts of the brain? (Google Scholar Search: transcranial alternating, entrain, gamma)
But then I discovered that Radiolab just covered this exact story and it’s totally amazing! Really a must listen. So fun to hear the researcher’s amazement at this accidental (sort of) discovery!
So what’s with the photo of the Foc.us v2 device set up for a 40hz tACS session? Just that…

More about The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT

Brendan Morgan Omni Stimulator (For Depression) Review

Stumbled upon this device today, the Omni Stimulator, which seems to be mostly sold in Australia. That lead to this video where Brendan Morgan makes the case for the use of tDCS in the treatment of his depression. Again, I am not advocating the use of tDCS for the self-treatment of your depression. I’m simply collecting evidence, clinical and anecdotal, and making it available. That said, I know that if I myself were experiencing depression, I would be experimenting with tDCS. Especially in light of the fact that the efficacy of treatment of depression with SRRIs remains controversial, tDCS would definitely seem to be worth a try. [Highly recommended, Science VS podcast episode #11 Antidepressants.]

Memory Test | BBC One

Memory test
Featuring Swansea University researcher Claire J. Hanley Lucy Owen explores a new way of improving her memory. Will she score better at a memory test once her brain has been stimulated by electromagnetic impulses?

>@clairejhanley What would you call that montage?
Claire J. Hanley @clairejhanley
@DIYtDCS the montage used was position T7 (anode)/T8(cathode) from the 10-10 system

Why DIY?

Market forces, the for-profit bias that imbues every aspect of health care in America, skew R&D towards solutions and products that are highly profitable. That’s one of the reasons I was so curious about tDCS. You can do it at home. It doesn’t cost a fortune. My initial curiosity was inspired by research papers that seemed to indicate the potential for cognitive enhancement, primarily memory and learning. Many papers later, I’m not so sure, but where it comes to tDCS and depression I’m much more confident. There does seem to be an overwhelming amount of both research and anecdotal evidence to support the use of tDCS in depression. If that were better known, perhaps someone like the woman featured in this NBC news clip would have had somewhere to turn when she was denied coverage for continuing TMS treatment for depression.

Injured Workers Face Stacked Deck During Workers’ Comp Appeals Process, Critics Say

Citizen Science! The Verdict Is In!

Just kidding. C’mon folks. The smallest bit of Googling… At least he doesn’t seem to have hurt himself.

NEVER connect electrodes directly to a 9 volt battery.
Sticky (TENS) electrodes are HIGHLY not recommended.

Youtuber theCharmIsGlobal 7/25/16

YouTuber theCharmIsGlobal 7/25/16

Based on his perception of the Sally Adee article/study featured on RadioLab 9-Volt Nirvana episode, YouTuber TheCharmIsGlobal attempted to replicate the experience in an experiment he called, “TDCS EXPERIMENT WITH CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III” The 43 minute video is mostly onscreen playing of Call Of Duty, but he starts the video with a discussion of tDCS, applies tDCS as shown above at around 10:40, and declares victory at 42:50.

So the verdict is in, yeah, it does work! It really does work!

Sleep Spindles tACS and Memory Consolidation | Frohlich Lab

For the first time, UNC School of Medicine scientists report using transcranial alternating current stimulation, or tACS, to target a specific kind of brain activity during sleep and strengthen memory in healthy people.


Flavio Frohlich, PhD

Full Story: No dream: electric brain stimulation during sleep can boost memory
Paper: Feedback-Controlled Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation Reveals a Functional Role of Sleep Spindles in Motor Memory Consolidation

A Tool For The Mind | Marom Bikson | TEDxBushwick

This is my optimistic (hopeful) look forward; one day soon, we will have “Tools for the Mind” (TEDx) that we can use to better ourselves. Certainly we need more research and the technology is early stage, but with something so transformative, the time to discuss its implications to society is now. I mention those issues as a call to action. Pay close attention for a sneak peak image at one technology thats exists today ‪#‎wearable‬-medicine

 

A Look At Memory 2016

Memory has always fascinated me and it’s thrilling to be alive at a time when breakthroughs in our understanding of memory are happening so frequently. I had never heard of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory before catching a recent (this will slip behind a paywall in a week or so) This American Life episode that features Jill Price discussing how having the extremely rare condition, HSAM for short, has left her ruminating over her husbands passing for years. (More about Jill Price from 60 Minutes Australia here).

As someone who has journaled for most of my adult life the idea of being able to recall every single day in vivid detail seemed thrilling and I wondered if Jill Price’s experience was the norm among people with HSAM. That led to these 60 Minute pieces. The first two are from 2010.


After the show aired, hundreds of people contacted Dr. James McGaugh including the family of 10 year old Jake Hausler who also has HSAM. Scientists at Washington University are working with Jake to try to understand how it’s done.

And finally, ‘Memory Hackers’ from NOVA, has an update on the Jake Hausler research, and also delves into a wide variety of cutting edge memory research.

Experimenting with electricity | Al Jazeera America

[Update 5/1/16] Perhaps with the unfortunate demise of Al Jazeera America, they have posted their TechKnow series online. We’re now able to watch the episode that featured Erica and Jeff and tDCS.

Exactly! Erica and Jeff have decided on a self-testing protocol I believe will effectively measure their tDCS results. Dual N-Back (online requires Silverlight) or download Brain Workshop.

By the time you read this there should also be a video interview at the TechKnow site.
Jeff’s (Boinger) Open tDCS: tDCS Regulation Circuits – Open Source Hardware project on GitHub: https://github.com/boinger/tdcs
Jeff’s DIY part list: https://github.com/boinger/tdcs/blob/master/bom.csv
And PCB board: https://github.com/boinger/tdcs/blob/master/board.png
Follow Jeff’s Reddit thread.: http://www.reddit.com/r/tDCS/comments/2hguka/experimenting_with_electricity_interview_from/

TechKnow: How do you plan on measuring your progress with the tDCS headset?
Erica: So I’m using a brain training game called Dual N-Back. So far I’ve tracked my progress with the game without using the tDCS, and I plan to use tDCS, and then practice the game and see how far I can get.
TechKnow: Are you going to record this information? Do you plan on making it available to other people?
Erica: I plan to track the amount of time I’m spending using tDCS and how well I’m performing in the game to see what is correlated.

via Experimenting with electricity | Al Jazeera America.

2016 Neurostimulation | Virtual Futures Salon

Something remarkable comes of staring the future deep in the eyes and challenging everything that it seems to promise.

Virtual Futures | Conference & Salon Events on the Convergence of Art, Science, Technology, Philosophy & Culture | Originally based at the University of Warwick

You can watch the entire event as one clip, but I very much like how they have it snipped up into a playlist you can pick and choose from. Here are examples from each of the speakers. Full Playlist.

 

Meet Andrew Vladimirov

Andrew certainly seems like someone I should interview for the podcast!
From CNN Money This guy wears a helmet to make his brain more productive

From Sky News Brain Hacking On Rise: Could It Make You Perkier? (Also features Camilla Nord)

From 2014 DIY Brain Hacking with Andrew Vladimirov Speaker Preview of Anticipating 2025

And a couple of short clips from the Virtual Future Salon, February 2016

What Andrew is suggesting in this next clip is pretty wild. Basically, that he wants neurostimulation to operate in the brain at the molecular level, similar to how drugs work. Target a receptor site with a unique waveform?!!!

Mind machines – the promise and problems of cognitive enhancement devices

In this video Roi Cohen Kadosh (Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford) likens the use tDCS without a task and purpose, to an athlete taking steroids and not exercising. He discusses recent papers coming out of his lab and describes the research that resulted in this paper: Combining brain stimulation and video game to promote long-term transfer of learning and cognitive enhancement. Kadosh points out that while tDCS did enhance performance in a math challenge, it simultaneously had a negative impact on another. Following Kadosh, Dr Hannah Maslen discusses DIY and DTC tDCS in the context of regulation in the EU.

Those who received real tDCS performed significantly better in the game than the sham group, and showed transfer effects to working memory, a related but non-numerical cognitive domain. This transfer effect was absent in active and sham control groups. Furthermore, training gains were more pronounced amongst those with lower baseline cognitive abilities, suggesting the potential for reducing cognitive inequalities. All effects associated with real tDCS remained 2 months post-training. Our study demonstrates the potential benefit of this approach for long-term enhancement of human learning and cognition.

Understanding The Mechanism Underlying The Effects of tDCS

The paper, Calcium imaging reveals glial involvement in transcranial direct current stimulation-induced plasticity in mouse brain, is being lauded as a major discovery among tDCS researchers. It is however, extremely hard to follow. Fortunately RIKEN also issued a press release describing the study in a way most tDCS-curious will understand. Read the full press release here.

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered that the benefits of stimulating the brain with direct current come from its effects on astrocytes — not neurons — in the mouse brain. Published in Nature Communications, the work shows that applying direct current to the head releases synchronized waves of calcium from astrocytes that can reduce depressive symptoms and lead to a general increase in neural plasticity — the ability of neuronal connections to change when we try to learn or form memories.


(top) Low spontaneous calcium activity in a normal mouse followed by tDCS-induced calcium surges. (bottom) tDCS-induced calcium surges are absent in IP3 Receptor 2 knockout mice, indicating that the calcium surges originate in astrocytes, not neurons.
Note: The upper. ‘normal’ mouse brain vs. modified mouse brain, bottom. Watch near ticking clock when ‘spontaneous’ switches to ‘tDCS’.

Let’s put this in some context by having a quick look at astrocytes and glial cells. From 2-Minute Neuroscience