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.
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 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.
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.]
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.]
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.”
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.
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.
Robin at Caputron sends word of their new ‘exclusively from Caputron’ ActivaDose 29V 2mA max Iontophoresis device. My one caveat with the ActivaDose had been the potential for user error in choosing a 4mA setting (rather than the 1 or 2mA setting traditionally used in tDCS research). This new device removes that possibility. This is the device you could confidently show your Mom how to use. The new version maintains the ActivaDose FDA approval for iontophoresis. This new version becomes the device I can recommend in all confidence, also because Caputron stands behind all the products they offer.
Readers of the blog get a generous discount on this, or any other (including GoFlow) device purchased at Caputron using promo code diytdcs at checkout.
A big challenge for us has been: how do you get through the hair? Well, quite simply, with something that looks like a comb or brush. We engineered the primers to reflect a comb-like design — with rows of soft elastic foam tips called nibs. We spent the last two years coming up with the best shape, material, stiffness, angle, and geometry for these nibs, and then figuring out how to make them.
Featuring Swansea University researcher Claire J. Hanley @clairejhanley. 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?
@DIYtDCS the montage used was position T7 (anode)/T8(cathode) from the 10-10 system
Learn new skills faster and train for longer with the foc.us Go Flow Sports edition. Studies show that focussed, gentle stimulation of the brain can accelerate the acquisition of sporting skills and extend athletic endurance in elite and amateur sports people alike.
To help with electrode positioning we have updated a 3d model head with the 10/20 electrode placements. Click the position name e.g. F3, and it will appear on the head. You will still need to translate this to your own head but we hope it helps. (Move the model around with your mouse.)
We are also now selling a version of Go Flow Pro that includes our 1020 position cap instead of the headband. It includes everything you need to get started.
Fascinating stories of people with Aspergers who discover feelings and empathy as participants in TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) studies. Begs the question, what if, as the effects of TMS fade, tDCS could be used to ‘top up’ their emotional awareness?
Frame of Reference From NPR’s amazing ‘Invisibilia’.
We all carry an invisible frame of reference in our heads that filters our experience. Alix and Hanna talk to a woman who gets a glimpse of what she’s been missing – and then loses it.