Do DIY Brain-Booster Devices Work? | Scientific America

Excellent article traces the rise in tDCS interest. Includes many of the key players and links to important research papers. Do DIY Brain-Booster Devices Work?

NYC Neuromodulation 2017 Conference January 13-15

That’s next weekend! Should be an exciting event. Check out the Abstracts submitted by presenters! Things like…

E-meditation: A novel paradigm using tDCS to enhance mindfulness meditation
tDCS metaplasticity and astrocytic calcium in mice
Individual Differences in tDCS Augmented Working Memory Training
Distracted driving and high-definition tDCS
Emotion perception improvement following high frequency transcranial random noise of the inferior frontal cortex
Adaptive tDCS controller for increasing dose to 4 mA
Dry electrodes for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
Seeking a Superman’s brain: HD-tDCS of brain networks in exercise performance
Investigating Possible Mechanisms of Action of Transcranial Electric Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease

 

Zapping the brain really does seem to improve depression | New Scientist

Analysing these high-standard studies revealed that tDCS seems to reliably improve the symptoms of depression, addiction and craving, and fibromyalgia. It also uncovered that the technique does not work for tinnitus, and that the evidence for using tDCS for stroke rehabilitation was not as strong as many had thought.

Full article: Zapping the brain really does seem to improve depression

Full Paper: Evidence-based guidelines on the therapeutic use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

 

Do You Use Scientific Papers To Inform Your Home tDCS Use? Take The Survey!

Hi John, our research centre (CIBF via The Brain Dialogue) is doing a project involving home users of brain stimulation, the details of which can be found here We’re currently conducting a survey on how these home users find and use scientific literature. If it’s appropriate for your website, we would love if you could post about the survey as we want a broad range of home users to participate and DIYtDCS keeps cropping up in the conversations we have about home use. The survey can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/unintendedconsequences Please let me know if you have any questions or want more info about the project; you can also reach me via Twitter @ElizabethJPaton

A little more about The Brain Dialogue.

Medical Batteries – The History of Electrotherapy

Update 2/17/17 BBC The strange Victorian fashion of self-electrification
tdcslindstroms-electro-medical-apparatus

If you’ve been following along very closely you may recall that podcast episode #6 guest Anna Wexler mentioned in passing that she had been researching Ye Olde practice of therapeutically applying current to various parts of the body. Well, an early version of a new paper of hers landed the other day: Recurrent themes in the history of the home use of electrical stimulation: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and the medical battery (1870–1920). It’s behind a paywall but here are some highlights.

  • Although the home use of tDCS is often referred to as a novel phenomenon, in reality the late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a proliferation of electrical stimulation devices for home use.
  • In particular, the use of a portable electrotherapy device known as the “medical battery” bears a number of striking similarities to the modern-day use of tDCS.
  • Many features related to the home use tDCS—a do-it-yourself movement, anti-medical establishment themes, conflicts between lay and professional usage—are a repetition of themes that occurred a century ago with regard to the medical battery.
  • A number of features seem to be unique to the present, such as the dominant discourse about risk and safety, the division between cranial and non-cranial stimulation, and utilization for cognitive enhancement purposes.
  • Viewed in historical context, the contemporary use of electrical stimulation at home is not unusual, but rather the latest wave in a series of ongoing attempts by lay individuals to utilize electricity for therapeutic purposes.

Lots of ‘medical battery’ patents here.
And a ton of wonderful images to be found in books in Google’s digitized library.
Most of these came from a single book!

 

I intentionally electrocuted my brain. Here’s why… | BBC

BBC Three's Nick Arnold takes the Focus Sports for a test drive.

BBC Three’s Nick Arnold takes the Focus Sports for a test drive.

I contacted a few people using tDCS to cure their depression via social media. Mario, 32 from Mexico, told me it was working for him.

“I think it is great. You can see a lot of improvements in your mood. The more you use it the better you feel.”

Another user, eagee, wrote, “I suffered from depression for almost 25 years, and after I started applying tDCS I’ve had two years so far without it.”

If tDCS really can be so life changing for depression patients, why isn’t it more widely available?

According to Dr. Williams, “the equipment is so simple that it cannot be patented in the US. And if no one can own the rights to tDCS, no one can make a profit on it.”

That’s why, according to its supporters, tCDS is being ignored by major drug companies.

Slides From NIMH-sponsored tES Workshop Held September 29th and 30th at NIH

An email from Michelle Pearson at the NIH (because I had signed up for the online version of the workshop) alerted me today to a trove of TES (Transcranial Electric Stimulation) info being made available to us. Presenter slides (in PDF form) from the workshop were available for download. Because the download process was pretty wonky, involving many clicks and declined logins to Dropbox I thought to make them available here as well.

1-lisanby-introductory-remarks Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby, M.D., NIH
2-rumsey-introduction Judy Rumsey, Ph.D.
3-wassermann-historical-overview Eric Wassermann, M.D., NINDS
4-parra-tdcs-mechanisms Lucas Parra, co-founder of Soterix Medial Inc. @lcparra1
5-frohlich-tacs-mechanisms @FlavioFrohlich, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
6-clark-combining-imaging-and-stimulation Vincent P. Clark, PhD Mind Research Network
7-woods-tes-technical-aspects Adam J. Woods, PhD @adamjwoods
8-richardson-blinding Jessica D. Richardson, Ph.D.
9-kappenman-reproducibility Emily S. Kappenman
10-bikson-computational-modeling-design Marom Bikson, CCNY @MaromBikson
11-deng-anatomical-variability-efields Zhi-De Deng, Ph.D., NIH
12-dmochowski-targeted-stimulation-sources Jacek P. Dmochowski, CCNY
13-loo-depression-trials Colleen Loo, Black Dog Institute
14-brunoni-neuropsychiatry-large-trials André R. Brunoni, @abrunoni
15-cohen-motor-learning Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D. NINDS
16-edwards-augmentation-neurorehabilitation Dylan J. Edwards PhD
17-lim-ongoing-trials Kelvin O. Lim, M.D.
18-frohlich-tacs-psychiatry-trials @FrohlichLab
19-charvet_remote-tdcs Leigh Charvet PhD, NYU

Early Torpedo Fish TES Researcher. From the Wassermann Historical Overview slides

Early Torpedo Fish TES Researcher. From the Wassermann Historical Overview slides

Stimulating learning (tDCS) | Oxford Sparks

tdcsneurolectricscap

Device shown is from Neurolectrics.

Can a little electrical stimulation help people learn quicker? And how would technology that does this be used? And why would you want to use this over medicines?

Professor Roi Cohen Kadosh describes a phenomena that they’ve noticed where giving people a little electrical stimulation to the scalp appears to help people learn things quicker; and rather than using this to make super-geniuses, could this be used to help people with learning difficulties? Roi discusses how it might work, and discussed the moral and ethical implications of such a technology. From Oxford Sparks.

Caputron Now Carrying Focus GoFlow Starter Kit

Update 7/25/16 Caputron just announced their Banana Adapter for Focus Devices which facilitates use of Focus with Amrex or Caputron electrodes.

Caputron will be handling all Customer Support on GoFlow devices purchased through their site. At this time they have over 100 units in stock. If you’re not familiar with Caputron please check out my interview with founder Robin Azzam. Caputron has extended their discount to DIYtDCS readers for all products on their site, including the GoFlow. Use voucher code ‘diytdcs’ (without the quotation marks) for a generous discount.

New Go Flow Pro package.

New Go Flow Pro package.

 

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.]

Cloud-Based tDCS Device For Remotely-Supervised Trials

Our ~6 min video about the project! Featuring & ‘s Prof Colleen Loo.

We developed a cellular brain stimulation device as part of our ELEC5622 Sensors, Signals & Health assessment at the University of Sydney. The technique, known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), uses weak electrical currents to modulate ongoing brain activity, and is a promising treatment for a range of neurological and psychiatric diseases. As the feasibility of administering tDCS at home has recently become an emerging area of research, there is a substantial need for a tDCS device which send data to the clinician in real time.

[Update 11/7/16 The video mentioned has been deleted.]

Want to ‘train your brain’? Forget apps, learn a musical instrument | TheGuardian

Unlike commercial brain training products, which only improve performance on the skills involved, musical training has what psychologists refer to as transfer effects – in other words, learning to play a musical instrument seems to have a far broader effect on the brain and mental function, and improves other abilities that are seemingly unrelated.

“Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can’t,” says Loveday. “It’s a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust.”

Full story: Want to ‘train your brain’? Forget apps, learn a musical instrument

TMS & Depression In The News

Now that TMS has been approved for the treatment of depression we’re seeing a lot more stories in the news. Naturally this is in part due to the marketing efforts of the four device makers currently FDA approved: Brainsway, Magstim, Magvita, and Neurostar. No doubt patients and doctors are eager to try an alternative where antidepressants didn’t work!

I will update this post as I find new and interesting news stories related to TMS and depression.

tdcsmagnetstms

Magnets cured my depression
New symptom-free treatment helps depression, reduce military suicides

University of British Columbia Explores tDCS With Yoga in Treatment of Depression

Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, is exploring the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation combined with yoga, to see if it can be used to treat depression.

From UBC: Harnessing electricity to treat depression – in a kinder, gentler way