I know I’m going to come off as a hater in this post, but fact is, if tDCS or Electric Stimulation are actually working for you- helping you get to sleep, getting you laid, calming down your horse, or filling your bank account, who am I to judge?
What set me off is the marketing around this Mishka / FisherWallace CES (Cranial Electric Stimulation) device. The FisherWallace device is ‘FDA cleared‘ for the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain. You either need a prescription or written authorization from your doctor to order one. Their website is all about doctors and the medical profession. When I saw the Mishka re-brand (website) I was thoroughly confused. What could this edgy NYC clothing company and FisherWallace have in common? Why would FisherWallace, with decades of medical professional product-fit be risking their reputation in the medical community by partnering with Mishka in this sleazy web marketing campaign?
Yes, but why would such an obvious cash grab offend me? I guess it’s just that hundreds of tDCS research papers later I’ve evolved a respect for the science and scientists around tDCS and have become invested in the possibility that someday tDCS or related NIBS (non invasive brain stimulation) will prove effective in helping people. So far, with the exception of some research and first-person reports around tDCS being useful in the treatment of depression (my favorite example), tDCS remains controversial, with little evidence supporting consistent positive results. Nevertheless, the science hasn’t prevented vendors from claiming benefits and selling devices.
So I suppose it took this ad campaign to make me finally realize that a lot about what is going on in the neurostimulation space is…
Hey, we’ve got this little box with lights on it and a couple of harmless electrodes that people put on their heads. How can we make money off of it?
Michael Weisend PHD. is a principal investigator at The Mind Research Network, MRN.org, and assistant professor of Translational Neuroscience at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Dr. Weisend and his team pioneered a method for determining optimal brain regions for tDCS stimulation using fMRI. Much of Dr. Weisend’s work is focused on cognitive enhancement in healthy subjects for the purpose of reducing the amount of time it takes to master a skill. He shared a full hour of his time and a wealth of tDCS-related information. Download the interviewhere (zipped mp3). Subscribe in iTunes. (Firefox users- there’s an issue with the html5 audio player. In the meantime you can download the episode or open the page in another browser).