Articles of Note – March 2013

(What happened to February?)
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) of the visual cortex: a proof-of-concept study based on interictal electrophysiological abnormalities in migraine (pdf)
with anodal tDCS turned out to be beneficial in MoA (migraine without aura patients) migraine attack frequency, migraine days, attack duration and acute medication intake significantly decreased during the treatment period compared to pre-treatment baseline
Tags: Migraine, visual cortex,

The Mental Cost of Cognitive Enhancement (pdf)
Stimulation to the the posterior parietal cortex facilitated numerical learning, whereas automaticity for the learned material was impaired. In contrast, stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex impaired the learning process, whereas automaticity for the learned material was enhanced.
Wired Version
New Scientist Version
Tags: Roi Cohen Kadosh,

Keith Spalding’s Simple DIY TDCS circuit using CRDs
A DIY schematic for tDCS using CRDs for current regulation.
Tags: DIY, CRD

Noninvasive transcranial direct current stimulation over the left prefrontal cortex facilitates cognitive flexibility in tool use
…we hypothesized that cathodal (inhibitory) transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) will facilitate performance in a flexible use generation task.
The results support the hypothesis that certain tasks may benefit from a state of diminished cognitive control.
Tags: inhibitory benefits,

When Anger Leads to Rumination
Induction of Relative Right Frontal Cortical Activity With Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Increases Anger-Related Rumination
…results suggest that anger associated with greater relative left frontal cortical activity predicts approach-oriented aggressive action, whereas anger associated with greater relative right frontal cortical activity predicts inhibited rumination.

Potential of transcranial direct current stimulation shown in fibromyalgia
Transcranial direct current stimulation delivered focally to the left primary motor cortex of patients with fibromyalgia significantly reduced perceived pain compared with sham stimulation in a proof-of-principle pilot trial.
Tags, fibromyalgia, pain

A Treasure Trove of Stimulating Information!

universityNMJust found this in iTunesU. Wow! You’ll recognize many of these names if you’re reading the tDCS literature. I’ve only watched the Michael Weisend talks (whom we met earlier on the blog) so far. I have a much better understanding of the difficulty of running a tDCS trial now. There’s a lot that can go wrong. If your protocols aren’t set up just right, your information might be useless. Here’s the web link iTunes Link from which you can download in iTunes. Downloads are quite slow.

Introduction to Neurosystems Engineering, Spring 2011 (ECE 595)                   Neurosystems Engineering is an emerging field at the intersection of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Engineering, and the University of New Mexico is its epicenter.

Course Intro   Dr. Gerold Yonas
Course Syllabus   Dr. Gerold Yonas
Tools and Techniques in Neuronal Stimulation  Dr. Edl Schamiloglu
Basic Principles of Feedback and Control   Prof. Chaouki T. Abdallah
Discussing the Course General Approach and Direction  Dr. Gerold Yonas
Effects of Direct Current, Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation on Learning  Michael Weisend
In the Laboratory Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)   Michael Weisend
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Roles for Treatment & Prevention (Part I) Dr. Pilar M Sanjuan
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Roles for Treatment & Prevention (Part II) Dr. Pilar M Sanjuan
Tour of the Mind Research Network   Dr. Vince D. Calhoun
Neuroimaging of Intelligence and Creativity (Part I)    Dr. Rex E. Jung
Neuroimaging of Intelligence and Creativity (Part II)   Dr. Rex E. Jung
Memories and Migraines: Application of tDCS  Laura Matzen
Neurochemistry Application in NonInvasive Brain Stimulation  Dr. Charles Gasparovic
Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation    1:03:47   Lucas C. Parra
Epilepsy, Autism, and Novel Treatment Strategies   Dr. Jeffrey David Lewine
The Emerging Field of Sleep Disorders Medicine  Dr. Barry Krakow
Presentation of Class Projects   Student

Vincent Walsh TMS > tDCS & Migraine

Towards the end of the video (The Daily Telegraph 2008) Professor Vincent Walsh, (now of University of California Davis) discusses tDCS and its potential for therapeutic use. Especially of interest is the information on migraine headaches:

So, some migraines are caused by having too much activity in the visual brain area, and some are by having too little activity. And we hope that this can balance out, reverse that relative inactivity in the brain.

Could this imply that one person’s migraine could be mitigated with Cathodal (-) tdcs while another’s might benefit from Anodal (+) application of tDCS? And conversely, does it imply that improper stimulation would lead to MORE migraines?

If I suffered from migraines and wanted to test tDCS, here’s where I’d start:
Check the FisherWallace  Find A Doctor search page for an electrotherapist in your area.
If they will treat you for migraine, try a few sessions. If it works, and your doctor will authorize a purchase, you can buy your own unit (for $700). A FisherWallace device may qualify for insurance coverage.

Alternately, I would monitor the site and keep an eye out for new studies testing tDCS for migraine. And lastly, I would contact manufacturers of other tDCS devices and ask if they knew of any electrotherapy practitioners in your area working with migraine. Here’s my short list of manufacturers to contact:

  • Soterix Medical: Are on the cutting edge of all things tDCS and in some of their literature I have seen them mention migraine.
  • MagStim: Another medical-level producer, although I’m not sure these devices are approved for use in the U.S. yet.
  • Alpha-Stim: While they don’t advertize the use of their device for migraine, they do offer many testimonials from people who state they found it beneficial. I have not seen this company associated with any scientific studies or papers.

Mild electrical current found to prevent migraine attacks

According to the team’s computational models, tDCS delivers a therapeutic current along the brain’s pain network, a collection of interconnected brain regions involved in perceiving and regulating pain. The team says the technology seems to reverse ingrained changes in the brain caused by chronic migraine, such as greater sensitivity to headache triggers.

The improvements accumulated over the four weeks of treatment, with the effects lasting for months. The only side effect reported by the test subjects was a mild tingling sensation experienced when receiving the treatment. Professor Bikson says a patient could potentially use the system every day to ward off attacks, or periodically, like a booster shot.

“You can walk around with it and keep it in your desk drawer or purse. This is definitely the first technology that operates on just a 9-volt battery and can be applied at home,” said Bikson, who envisions the future development of units as small as an iPod.

via Gizmag – Mild electrical current found to prevent migraine attacks.

University of Michigan News Service | Migraine patients find pain relief in electrical brain stimulation

“We went beyond, ‘OK, this works,'” DaSilva said. “We also showed what possible areas of the brain are affected by the therapy.”

They did this by using a high-resolution computational model. They correctly predicted that the electric current would go where directed by the electrodes placed on the subject’s head, but the current also flowed through other critical regions of the brain associated with how we perceive and modulate pain.

“Previously, it was thought that the electric current would only go into the most superficial areas of the cortex,” DaSilva said. “We found that pain-related areas very deep in the brain could be targeted.”

via University of Michigan News Service | Migraine patients find pain relief in electrical brain stimulation.