The Weird World of Brain Hacking | The Wall Street Journal


I had the pleasure of discussing tDCS with article-author Amy Dockser Marcus. She’s put together a very clear picture of where we’re at with DIY tDCS at the moment. I agree that Brent Williams is a great example of someone in the DIY community lighting the way towards safe and ethical home-use of tDCS.

I draw attention to this section of the article because it will be of special interest to regular readers. I find it very interesting to note that this letter addressed to “members of the DIY tDCS community” from concerned researchers happens to be under review for publication a few weeks prior to the FDA Workshop that will address the use of “non-invasive brain stimulation medical devices” (emphasis mine). Unless representatives from the likes of Focus, Thync or Halo Neuroscience show up to represent their devices, I think it very unlikely that the ‘DIY’ community will be represented (though Thync is certainly positioned apart from the DIY community there are obvious overlaps in interest). I signed up for the webcast. Assuming the webcast software actually works, I hope to observe a reasonable discussion between intelligent persons that finds nothing of note to be alarmed about.

Still, Dr. Hamilton believes some home users may not fully recognize that professional research in the field is largely done in people with brains “whose network has been altered and whose functions have been disturbed by or changed by injury.” Promising data gathered about neurostimulation on someone who has had a stroke, for instance, doesn’t necessarily apply to someone with “a normal intact system,” he says.

Researchers also haven’t studied possible long-term impacts of repeated use of tDCS by healthy people. There is some preliminary research raising potential concerns that when neurostimulation improves one brain function, there can be losses in other areas. Assessing the risks and benefits of the technology may differ depending on whether someone is healthy or ill.

Dr. Hamilton is one of a group of scientists and clinicians working with tDCS for medical applications who have written a letter aimed at members of the DIY tDCS community that raises some of their concerns. The letter is under review for publication by an academic journal.

I would only add that while Dr. Hamilton’s work with tDCS for the most part centers around aphasia (stroke) and pain, my sense of tDCS studies coming out of the science community is that it’s trending towards research with healthy individuals.

Source (in case you missed it above): The Weird World of Brain Hacking

With batteries included, brain stimulation devices prepare to go mainstream — NewsWorks

The San Francisco-based start-up is tight-lipped about what the Halo unit will look like, but it is confirming that the device will rely on something called transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS, to channel small amounts of electricity through the brain.

“We want to build a product that’s a wearable, that’s ridiculously simple and easy to use…we also want it to be aesthetically pleasing, and not scary to look at or to wear,” he says.

With the catchphrase “Be Electric,” Halo plans to launch its device sometime in 2015. And if you’re picturing shock therapy, dial those expectations way back. TDCS uses a far smaller jolt for its intended effect.

via With batteries included, brain stimulation devices prepare to go mainstream — NewsWorks.

“Cognitive Enhancement by Non-invasive Brain Stimulation” with Roy H. Hamilton

An intelligent introduction to tDCS and TMS in the context of Cognitive Enhancement. Dr.  Roy Hamilton (at around 19:00 in the video, the beginning is basic intro boilerplate) discusses studies which demonstrate significant positive cognitive effects in healthy individuals. I especially liked Dr. Hamilton’s take on the concerns and potential risks of non-invasive brain stimulation which he discusses towards the end of his talk.

Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation UC-Davis Sept. 5, 2013 Videos

The ‘current’ state of the art! Thanks UC Davis for sharing! http://www.youtube.com/user/UCDavis

Dr. Marom Bikson, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at The City College of The City University of New York, discussing the cellular mechanisms of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) at the Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at the UC-Davis Center for Mind & Brain.


Dr. Vince Clark, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of New Mexico, speaking on the role of tDCS in cognitive enhancement in a talk at the Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at the UC-Davis Center for Mind & Brain.


In this talk at the Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at the UC-Davis Center for Mind & Brain, Dr. Roy Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses a range of clinical applications of the transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) technique.


Dr. Michael Nitsche, a pioneer in the field of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) from the University of Goettingen in Germany, speaking about the physiological basis of tDCS at the Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at the UC-Davis Center for Mind & Brain.


Dr. Dylan Edwards of the Burke Medical Research Institute, speaking on the role of tDCS and robotics in human motor recovery in a talk at the Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at the UC-Davis Center for Mind & Brain.


Dr. Vincent Walsh of University College London, discussing the current evidence for and against the role of transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) in improving cognition at the Summit on Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at the UC-Davis Center for Mind & Brain.

DIY tDCS Start Here

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New to DIYtDCS? This is the ‘start here’ collection of articles and posts.

  1. DIYtDCS Feed, last 50 articles http://www.diytdcs.com/feed/
  2. My Twitter feed focuses on breaking tDCS research. @DIYtDCS
  3. My Reddit account, where it’s okay to explore the fringes. DIYtDCS
  4. Recommended device? (29V / 2mA model. Promo code ‘diytdcs’ for discount)
  5. Best instruction video for C3/Motorcortex & F3/DLPFC electrode placement.
  6. Is this (tDCS for depression in pregnancy) the first ‘killer app’?
  7. Cognitive Enhancement with Noninvasive Brain Stimulation (video) Roy Hamilton MD
  8. Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources.
  9. Marom Bikson & Peter Toshev ‘Your Electric Pharmacy‘ (excellent overview/intro).
  10. Marom Bikson Presentation on State of the Art tDCS 8/13.
  11. My podcast interviews – deep dives into tDCS with key players (iTunes link)
  12. tDCS SubReddit is where the action is. Now with tDCS FAQ!
  13. An ‘Open tDCS’ project.
  14. Dr. Brent Williams’ DIY device and protocol.
  15. Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus
  16. Better Living Through Electrochemistry
  17. Clinical tDCS trials seek volunteers. All. Search. (Example: “tDCS AND Los Angeles”)
  18. Neuroscience: Brain buzz Nature Magazine
  19. DLPFC / F3 Locator (you’ll need a tape measure with Centimeters)
  20. Searchable database of tDCS articles from trans-cranial.com
  21. 10–20 international system
  22. Kadosh The Stimulated Brain: Cognitive Enhancement Using NIBS