Electric “thinking cap” controls learning speed

From Vanderbilt University Research News. This article got a lot of traction this week. I would be very curious to see the results of the same study with tDCS applied at the time the tests were being given (rather than before). I’ve heard this described as ‘online’ testing.
Interesting to see Mind Alive’s Oasis Pro device being used clinically.

Reinhart and Woodman set out to test several hypotheses: One, they wanted to establish that it is possible to control the brain’s electrophysiological response to mistakes, and two, that its effect could be intentionally regulated up or down depending on the direction of an electrical current applied to it. This bi-directionality had been observed before in animal studies, but not in humans. Additionally, the researchers set out to see how long the effect lasted and whether the results could be generalized to other tasks.

Dave Siever – Mind Alive Revisited

We met Dave earlier on the blog. His company, Mind Alive Inc. operates out of Edmonton, Canada and sells a wide variety of ‘mind machines‘, including the Oasis Pro, which can be used for tDCS. Medical devices are controlled differently in Canada, the EU, and the U.S. About tDCS devices…

In Canada, it is not considered a medical device when used in a cognitiveneuroscience application.

I need to do a deep dive with an expert at some point, but for now, let’s operate under the assumption that it’s much easier to get a tDCS device in Canada or Europe. According to the Mind Alive ordering page, there does not seem to be anything special or awkward about ordering one of their devices. (I have no affiliation with Mind Alive).

Here Dave gives an overview of tDCS, how it’s theorized to work, and includes a set of tDCS montages for various purposes. Excellent!


Mind Alive – Dave Siever

Update: Spent a lot of time tracking down the Eldith device today and wherever I found it there was no mention of price. Dave Siever does mention the price and features in comparison to the device his company makes and I thought you might find it interesting. Not sure how much has changed since this was written.

There are presently only two stand-alone devices that produce tDCS. They are: the Eldith DC Stimulator by Neuro Conn, of Germany, which sells for €3000 (about $4,000US) and the CESta, by Mind Alive Inc., of Canada, which sells for $350US. [now $450. + accessories] Both units are current controlled and programmable. The CESta has the added benefits of providing cranio-electro stimulation and micro-electro therapy for muscle work. It also features randomization of the frequency stimulation and usage tracking for patient compliance. The CESta has been “tuned” with the electrodes provided so that at 1 ma stimulation, the active electrode delivers 50 µa/cm2, while the reference electrode produces 18 µa/cm2. This table shows the current density using various sizes at 1 and 2 ma currents.

25 cm2  5 x 5     @         1 ma     =          40 µa/cm2

25 cm2  5 x 5     @         2 ma     =          80 µa/cm2

36 cm2  6 x 6     @         1 ma     =          27 µa/cm2

49 cm2  10 x 10 @         1 ma     =          20.4 µa/cm2

You have to wonder about a tDCS device that doubles as a colloidal silver maker, but in the interest of ‘covering the field’ I wanted to post this video of Mind Alive’s Dave Siever discussing tDCS.

The photos and diagrams used in the talk can be found here. Mind Alive has a large collection of tDCS related papers and articles available to download (zip file of pdfs).

Mind Alive sells a variety of devices including what I believe are called ‘Mind Machines’-devices intended to alter your brainwaves using light and sound. One of their devices, the Oasis Pro can also be used for tDCS.