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 ClinicalTrials.gov 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.