The always excellent Science Podcast introduced me to a new treatment for tinnitus. Approximately 10-15% of the population suffers from some form of tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears). Hubert Lim has developed a device that pairs aural stimulation through headphones with electrical stimulation through the tongue. In a recent study they were able to diminish the perception of ringing in a large clinical trial.
Treatment pairs a wide variety of sounds with tongue stimulation leading to increased activity in the neurons associated with these sounds thereby distracting the brain from the neurons which are responsible for tinnitus.
This treatment is available now at some European clinics. See Lenire.com.
The Lenire device comes from a Dublin company called Neuromod of which Dr. Lim is a partner. Here Dr. Lim describes the device.
Our friend and trusted neuroscience PHD student Nathan just published a review of the new LIFTiD tDCS device, A Look At The LIFTiD tDCS (Full disclosure, both he and I were given one to try out by Caputron. I’ve been waiting for Nathan’s report before trying mine.)
The obvious advantage to the LIFTiD device is it’s simplicity and ease of use. As I suspected this also turns out to be it’s main weakness in that you have only the default montage available.
The LIFTiD team was advised by neurosurgeon Dr. Theodore H. Schwartz. He was recently interviewed by Neurogal MD. While much of what is discussed will be familiar to DIYtDCS readers, I was interested to see that Dr. Schwartz was quick to point out what we don’t know about tDCS and neurostimulation.
In clinical studies, the PoNS device coupled with targeted functional therapy induces cranial nerve noninvasive neuromodulation (CN-NINM). Therapy consists of targeted physical, occupational and cognitive exercises, based on the patient’s deficits. (The PoNS™ Device from Helius Medical)
Vagus Nerve Stimulation has been on my radar for some time but recent developments, especially in our understanding of the Brain-Gut connection have me paying more attention to what’s happening in VNS research. This post will serve as a simple introduction in hopes of inspiring your own curiosity and I’ll fill in the blanks as more information becomes available. Overview from Wikipedia: Vagus Nerve Stimulation.
And finally a couple of device manufacturers with products currently on the market. I have zero relation to any of these companies and am linking to them simply so you can see what the devices look like and how they are marketed. There are probably many more. gammaCore NEMOS Monarch
Not tDCS, but EEG used in an new and exciting way.
At this time, she is recalling a previously trained hand gesture: a pinch with her fingers. This happens without removing her hands from the bowl to touch the screen. Just one thought.
This is exactly the case 22 seconds in. Notion detects her intent, and creates metadata that contains this information.
A split second later, thought-based intent turns into reality. As the mobile device receives the intent command created by Notion, the imagined hand gesture pattern is associated with a computer command. In this case, a scroll down event is executed. This happens repeatedly. She scrolls the page, allowing her to continue reading without lifting a finger.
From: You can now think to scroll
More at Neurocity.co
As more of these advanced, less expensive EEG chipsets come to market we can expect to see devices which merge EEG with non-invasive brain stimulation like tDCS or tACS. Applications I’ve seen discussed in the literature suggest that researchers would use specific EEG signals to trigger NIBS to specific areas. For example if the process your brain were doing at this exact moment required optimal functionality from a specific part of your brain, non-invasive stimulation would kick in to assist at that area.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is all speculative and mostly imaginationware at the moment. What I see as a trend in recent research is that the picture is in fact becoming more complicated, implying we know less than we thought we did. Further complications arise as we begin to understand how unique each of our brains are.
I’m not sure how useful a device that allows me to scroll down just by thinking of it will be to the general population. But certainly for people with physical impairments a lower cost, state of the art device that actually does something could be life-changing. Can you think of applications for the Notion that would entice you to own one? Not yet available but you can get on the get on the waiting list of request a Developer Kit here.
This video shows what is included with the Activadose tDCS Starter Kit from Caputron as well as a quick start guide. For more in depth look at how to use the device or to purchase this device, visit Caputron.com (As mentioned elsewhere on the blog, I have an affiliate relationship with Caputron. If you purchase any product from Caputron using code diytdcs at checkout, you will receive a discount and I will receive an affiliate fee.)
These come up once in a while and I like to alert readers to Caputron specials. I’ll remove the post when I see that the special has ended. Remember to add discount code diytdcs at checkout for additional savings ( I also receive an affiliate fee when you use my discount code).
This github project is a step-by-step manual. Anyone with a high school diploma should be able to follow it and build a TMSuino themselves. That’s what I was aiming for. TMSuino’s principle of operation is taken from a scientific paper published in the 1990s. So it is free of valid patent claims. Costs for parts, materials and shipping should be around 150,- dollars/euros. There is no soldering required! Estimated build time is 2 1/2 hours.
A comment on the blog from Martin Mueller informed me of this very interesting new arduino-based TMS device. I’ve also posted a link to the r/diytdcs Reddit page in hopes of hearing feedback from more technically-minded folks. I will update this post as info emerges. TMSuino3 seems to be loosely based on the work of Steen Dissing whose device we looked at in 2015 (see below) where it’s referred to as Transcranial Pulsating Electro Magnetic Fields therapy or t-PEMF.
The Introduction to the github article collects the author’s frustrations and suspicions around transparency in the bipolar research community and basically comes away from the experience hypothesizing what sounds like a conspiracy. Wait, big pharma and medical device companies manipulating the market to ensure maximum profit? Either way, he shares an article that confirms Steen Dissing’s frustration in getting his device accepted and adopted for treatment of depression in Denmark. An Inventor’s Triumph and Frustration.
It turns out a medical grade device has been developed and approved for treatment of depression in Denmark. The Re5, made by Navamedic. There are a collection of research papers linked to at their site.
————————– Original 2015 article.
Thanks to reader Jerico for alerting me to this. Transcranial Pulsating Electro Magnetic Fields therapy is new to me. It does not seem to be experiencing anywhere near the level of research activity that is going on around tDCS. Some of the research I’m finding dates from 2001 (though the BBC article the quote is from and linked to below is from 2014). But just to have it on our radar, and because the helmet looks so cool…
“The helmet is amazing,” said Annemette Ovlisen, a graphic artist who suffered recurrent depression for 16 years and a participant in the Hillerod trials.
It’s like the fog lifts. It was like somebody hit the reset button.”The device contains seven coils that deliver a dose of Transcranial Pulsating Electro Magnetic Fields (T-PEMF) to brain tissues.The pulses are so minute that the patient cannot detect any sensation, and the only side effect so far is occasional “tiny” nausea that immediately disappears after treatment.
Prof Steen Dissing, of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health Sciences is the helmet’s principal architect.
He said: “The device mimics electrical fields in the brain, and triggers the body’s own healing mechanism.”
The pulses activate capillaries in the brain, which form new blood vessels and secrete growth hormones.
I’ts like somebody hit the reset button and I was back to normal.
Update 8/2/18 Looks like the ActivaDose device special has ended but the Muse is still on sale. (If you’d like to receive an email when I notice special tDCS-related deals, please sign up for updates – in the sidebar.)
Update 7/25/18. I bumped this post to the top to alert readers to some very interesting deals Caputron is currently running. I will remove this when the specials end but at the moment you can purchase the ActivaDose Starter kit for $349, down from $399! Get an additional discount when you use discount code diytdcs at checkout! (At this time anyway, previously it’s been removed on specials.) They also have the Muse EEG headband on sale at $199, that’s $50 off. Not sure how long these specials will last. If you’ve been looking to acquire either of these devices here’s an opportunity to do so at a great price.
Robin at Caputron recently informed me of some new products they’re carrying including the Focus v3. The Focus v3 duplicates the functionality of the v2 (tRNS, tPCS, tACS and tDCS), but adds additional features such as what Focus calls ‘tRCS’, Transcranial Rippled Current Stimulation… as I understand it, a form of transcranial alternating current stimulation that targets multiple frequencies over time. tRCS is something new, invented by Focus, and therefore we have no scientific research to support its use at this time, but it looks very interesting. Considering the variety of stimulation modes the v3 supports, this is the obvious choice for anyone wanting to replicate research in the tACS and tRNS literature. Read more about the Focus v3 here: Instructions Guide.
If you’re looking for a more ‘traditional’ type tDCS device, I recommend Caputron’s ActivaDose II tDCS Starter Kit. This is an FDA approved device (NOT for tDCS, but for iontophoresis, point being the electronics and manufacturing are at an FDA approved level). Note that the ActivaDose from Caputron comes as either an 80 Volt/4 mA Max unit, or a 29 Volt/2 mA Max. The cautious user would choose the 29 Volt model, as 2 mA is the maximum current used in most scientific studies. If you want a simple device your Mom could use, this is the way to go. Again, Use coupon code diytdcs at checkout for a generous discount.
Caputon is now carrying the Muse EEG device. They also carry more sophisticated research devices like those by Soterix. You can even purchase a TMS device through them. They have expert support and a great reputation.
Finnish company Sooma manufactures and supports a tDCS device for the treatment of depression (in Europe). They recently added clearance to treat pain in Canada, and I would assume, are aggressively working towards clearing their device for the treatment of depression in Canada and the U.S.
I would recommend muting the sound (captioned so not necessary) in these next two.
If you follow the blog you’ll know I’m not savvy enough in the ways of electronics to know a well-constructed DIY circuit when I see it. I’ve generally depended on the Reddit crowd to sort through the pros and cons of DIY tDCS circuit design. Now that there are a handful of professionally developed and readily available devices on the market, I’m not seeing as many DIY projects, but here’s a couple that popped up on Youtube in the last week or so.
According to Instructables/reddit user quicksilv3rflash…
This device can be used for any kind of human electrical stimulation, such as tDCS, tACS, tRNS, or tVNS. Its hardware, when properly constructed and tested, limits output current such that -2.1mA < output_current < +2.1mA , based on the 2mA safety limit recommended in these published guidelines.
Lew Lim, the founder and CEO of VieLight is seen explaining the device in the video.
The technology is called transcranial and intranasal photobiomodulation (PBM). Initial, small-scale results, are promising.
Five people, with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, used the headsets every day for 12 weeks. The headset frame, with four different LED cluster-heads and an LED that clips to the inside of the nostril, was turned on for 15 minutes a day.
After the three months, neuroscientists noticed some patients, who were not able to speak in full sentences, could now put sentences together. Patients also experienced improved sleep and reduced wandering.
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.