This is one of the applications of tDCS I’ve been waiting to hear about. I was hoping tDCS might help facilitate an active dreaming state or even lucid dreaming.
In summary, using two different methodologies it appears that tDCS had no effect on the presence of dream reports with visual imagery or measures of dream quality. However, this may be due to methodological limitations of these stud- ies, as the delivery methods employed allowed only low levels of tDCS to be delivered without waking participants. Improvements allowing higher levels of stimulation during sleep and stimulation of other cortical regions could poten- tially provide more definitive conclusions regarding the ef- fectiveness of tDCS on dream imagery reported from REM sleep.
Investigation of visual dream reports after tran- scranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) during REM sleep (pdf)
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.
Assessing the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on cognition in patients with disorder of consciousness.
Illustration links to pdf download
The aim of this study was to assess whether anodal tDCS could reduce inhibitory interactions within the human visual cortex. Psychophysical measures of surround suppression were used as an index of inhibition within V1. Overlay suppression, which is thought to originate within the lateral geniculate nucleus LGN, was also measured as a control. Anodal stimulation of the occipital poles significantly reduced psychophysical surround suppression, but had no effect on overlay suppression. This effect was specific to anodal stimulation as cathodal stimulation had no effect on either measure. These psychophysical results provide the first evidence for tDCS-induced reductions of intracortical inhibition within the human visual cortex.
via PLoS ONE: Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Reduces Psychophysically Measured Surround Suppression in the Human Visual Cortex.
A small portable tDCS device would be safe, effective and easy to use, according to Dr. Marom Bikson, associate professor of biomedical engineering at CCNY. “We developed this technology and methodology in order to get the currents deep into the brain,” said Bikson. “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.”
Bikson foresees tDCS units as tiny as an iPod that patients can use every day to ward off attacks. A consumer-ready portable tDCS device is still years away, since large clinical trials would be needed.
In a pilot study conducted by Bikson, repeated tDCS sessions reduced the duration and pain intensity of migraine attacks by about 37 percent. Increasing improvements were noted after four weeks of treatment and the positive effects lasted for months. A mild tingling sensation during the electrical brain stimulation treatment was the only side effect.
“There’s something about migraine pain that’s particularly distressing,” said Bikson. “If it’s possible to help some people get just 30 percent better, that’s a very meaningful improvement in quality of life.”
Bikson says tDCS seems to reverse changes in the brain caused by repeated migraine attacks, including greater sensitivity to headaches triggers. He believes a patient could use a portable TDCS system every day to ward off attacks.
via Electrical Brain Stimulation Eases Migraines Without Drugs | American News Report.
“We think it probably works by re-setting the activity levels of those nerve cells which tend to be reduced when you’re depressed.” Colleen Loo
From Black Dog Institute, Sydney, Australia
We are looking for:
- People aged over 18
- People who have been experiencing feelings of depression for at least 4 weeks prior to study
- People able to commit to the trial for at least 4 weeks with the option of additional further treatment, attending usually for 40 minutes every weekday.
For more information call 02 9382 3720 or email TMSandDCS@unsw.edu.au
Watch a demonstration of DCS with a real patient
Download the flyer [PDF, 52KB]
Watch a clip about the study from Channel Ten News
Petr dropped me a line with an update on what brmlab has been up to lately. Wow! Check out the photo album. Very interesting collection of crew and gadgets. Here he is with an early version of his tDCS device.
He also pointed me to the focus. I don’t know how I’d missed it. Unfortunately (for me)…
Due to F.D.A. requirements the focus v1 is not currently available for sale in the United States. If you live in the U.S. and would like to buy a focus device, please pre-register. If there is sufficient demand from U.S. customers we will seek the necessary certification.
I think we can expect a lot of that. But how cool! You can sign up for ‘priority access’ on their site.
One of the things Petr and I discussed is objective testing for use in determining whether or not a tDCS device is actually doing anything. Petr came up with some great links. Both PEBL Psychological Test Battery and Brain Workshop – a Dual N-Back game, seem to be tests you download to your own computer. But I’ve just spent the last 20 minutes doing tests on a site called Quantified Mind. Except for the Google (only) login, it’s about perfect. A nice collection of tests and the results are collected very nicely into a statistics page that associates with your account. Cool! [Update 5/25/12] Another interesting candidate for measuring effectiveness. Lumosity research partners include Stanford and Harvard. A very basic reaction time test, HumanBenchMark.com.
Petr also mentioned that he corresponded with the GoFlow people and they are going to set up a wiki. In their recent email they announced they were a little bit behind and were waiting to hear back from Kickstarter. But that whether or not they get Kickstarter approval they’ll be moving forward soon.
All for now.