Robin Azzam of Caputron Medical – DIYtDCS Podcast #5

[Did you just pop back for the Caputron promo code? It’s ‘diytdcs’ without the quotes.]

Robin Azzam is the founder of Caputron. While pursuing a Masters in medical engineering at New York City College, Robin realized there was a need in the research community for a place to source brain stimulation supplies. Shortly after leaving a position in product development at Soterix Medical, Robin and a few friends set up Caputron with the intention of becoming a ‘one stop shop’ for all things related to brain stimulation. His time at Soterix, working alongside Marom Bikson, led to the sort of relationships that allowed Caputron to become a distributor for high-end products like Soterix HD-tDCS and Neurosoft’s TMS devices. But Caputron also began to carry a large selection of electrodes, cables, straps and stimulation-related accessories. Caputron is now developing their own products, and hope to have their own research-grade home DC current device on the market by the end of the year. They recently began selling their mindGear device which I will cover in detail in the near future.caputron-ionto-starter-kit-features

What DIYtDCS readers will likely find most exciting is Caputron’s ActivaDose II Starter Kit. This is the FDA cleared iontopheresis device widely used ‘off label’ for tDCS. It is the device used by two of my previous podcast guests, Dr. Jim Fugedy (for treating depression) and, (at the time) Michael Weisend for research. But Caputron has customized the included accessory package making it tDCS-friendly right out of the box.

In the three years I’ve been running the blog I’ve not previously felt comfortable recommending any specific tDCS device (mostly due to my own ignorance of electronics). I’ve either had doubts about the device itself or not had confidence in the vendor’s customer support. But based on my own experience with the ActivaDose products, the fact that it’s an ‘FDA cleared’ device, and also that it’s coming from Robin and his team, I feel, finally, that we have a product/vendor you could recommend your Mother to. (Assuming she does her homework!)

To that extent, I asked for, and Robin agreed to, a discount on all Caputron products for DIYtDCS readers. Simply plug the promo code ‘diytdcs’ (without quotation marks) into the Voucher window at checkout for a generous discount.

Here’s our interview. Your feedback is welcomed!


Note: The ActivaDose II has a max output of 4.0 mA which, as you know if you’ve done your homework, is twice as much as is typically used in tDCS research.

tDCS Recent Activity 12/12 – 1/13

A lot of the ‘pop sci’ articles are drawing on the results of only a few studies. Hopefully we’ll get affirmation of the efficacy of tDCS in cognitive enhancement soon.

Does Passing A Small Current Through Your Brain Really Make You Smarter?

Excellent update from Giulio Ruffini of Neuroelectrics. Full of links to relevant papers.

tDCS and Stroke: What We Know So Far (Jan 2013)

As far as I can tell, this is a new development in understanding the mechanism for the mediation of pain using tDCS.

Immediate effects of tDCS on the μ-opioid system of a chronic pain patient
To our knowledge, we provide data for the first time in vivo that there is possibly an instant increase of endogenous μ-opioid release during acute motor cortex neuromodulation with tDCS.
(And the pop-sci media follow-up Electrical Current Can Unlock The Seriously Good Drugs In Your Brain and Happiness Is a Warm Transcranial Direct Current Electrode)

A lot of research is going on right now into understanding where exactly, current if flowing.

The electric field in the cortex during transcranial current stimulation
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of tissue heterogeneity and of the complex cortical geometry on the electric field distribution.

Some context.

A pioneer work on electric brain stimulation in psychotic patients. Rudolph Gottfried Arndt and his 1870s studies.
Today’s brain stimulation methods are commonly traced back historically to surgical brain operations. With this one-sided historical approach it is easy to overlook the fact that non-surgical electrical brain-stimulating applications preceded present-day therapies.

Mental Practice, or MP is practicing doing something without actually doing it. A musician imagining playing their instrument for instance. This study measured quality of handwriting with the non-dominant hand while using tDCS.

Site-specific effects of mental practice combined with transcranial direct current stimulation on motor learning
In conclusion, our results suggest that MP-induced effects in improving motor performance can be successfully consolidated by excitatory non-invasive brain stimulation on the M1 and left DLPFC.