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> Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, Battery + Electrodes + Head
post Feb 23, 2008, 10:14 AM
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Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is different than CES.

From my site: transcranial direct current stimulation
Can you really affect the way your brain works by using a 9 volt battery? Apparently so with something that has been garnering attention recently called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The basic idea is attaching electrodes to your head and allowing a small 1 to 2 millamp current to pass through. This sounds similar to Electroshock (ECT) but it is actually quite a bit different than that. ECT requires anaesthesia and gives the brain a 1 Amp (1000 millamps) jolt that causes a seizure. ECT drastically affects the functioning of the entire brain. tDCS, on the other hand, is much more selective. It only influences the area of the brain directly underneath the electrode that is close to your skull. The electrode attached to the (+) anode part of the battery has the ability to excite neuron firing while the electrode attached to the (-) cathode inhibits neuron firing. So specific brain areas can either be activated or deactivated in response to stimulation.

Research link

Stimulation link
Stuart Gromley sits hunched over a desk in his bedroom, groping along the skin of his forehead, trying to figure out where to glue the electrodes. The wires lead to a Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab, a toy covered with knobs, switches, and meters. Even though he’s working with a kiddie lab, Gromley, a 39-year-old network administrator in San Francisco, can’t afford to make mistakes: he’s about to send the current from a nine-volt battery into his own brain.

Gromley’s homemade contraption is modeled on the devices used in some of the top research centers around the world. Called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), the technology works on the principle that even the weak electrical signals generated by a small battery can penetrate the skull and affect hot-button areas on the outer surface of the brain. In the past few years, scholarly research papers have touted tDCS as a non-invasive and safe way to rejigger our thoughts and feelings, and possibly to treat a variety of mental disorders. Most provocatively, researchers at the National Institute of Health have shown that running a small jolt of electricity through the forehead can enhance the verbal abilities of healthy people. That is, tDCS might do more than just alleviate symptoms of disease. It might help make its users a little bit smarter.

Say “electricity” and “brain” in the same sentence, and most of us flash on certain scenes from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. But tDCS has little in common with shock therapy. The amount of current that a nine-volt battery can produce is tiny, and most of it gets blocked by the skull anyway; what little current does go into brain tissue tends to stay close to the electrodes. By placing these electrodes on the forehead or the side of the head, researchers can pinpoint specific regions of the brain that they’d like to amp up or damp down.

Needless to say, the researchers I talked with cautioned against trying this sort of thing at home, although they had a grudging respect for anyone with the pluck to do it. “In the past, a lot of scientific discoveries were made by amateurs who experimented on themselves,” notes Peter Bulow, a psychiatrist at Columbia University. He says that a recent safety study found that tDCS causes no damage to brain tissue, but cautioned that any cutting-edge treatment comes with unknown risks. Bulow himself has just submitted a proposal to study the effects of tDCS on 20 depressed patients, and teams of researchers are experimenting with battery-powered electrodes at the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Harvard Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, and at the University of Göttingen in Germany, among other centers. They’re exploring tDCS as a treatment for depression, chronic pain, addiction to cigarettes, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as motor disorders caused by stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.

Some believe that if tDCS continues to pan out, a consumer version of the machine might someday appear on the market — available with a prescription from a doctor. Asked whether the tDCS machine might look like an iPod if it ever hit the market, one NIH researcher smiles. “The brain-pod!” he jokes. “It should play music, receive calls, and . . . shoot like a gun.” Then he grows serious. “It could be very simple and wearable.”

tDCS link
One (1) brain, inside skull
One (1) 9-volt battery
Two (2) wires
Two (2) damp sponges


Attach battery to wires, attach wires to sponges, attach sponges to skull, one over each eyebrow. Simmer once a day until mental health reaches a firm consistency.

It sounds like something you dreamed up in the basement with your stoner friends in high school. (In fact, you may actually have done so.) But transcranial direct current stimulation is the hottest thing to hit the improvisational health management scene since acupuncture. A growing body of evidence suggests that sticking a battery onto your head could hack into your brain's operating system and make life generally more worth living. Think of it as Norton Utilities for the mind.

That's not an oversimplification of the process. tDCS is literally that simple. The total cost of a treatment is less than $5 of parts from Radio Shack and a sponge. No prescription needed. No needles, no pills, no insurance companies, no weird hormonal fluctuations, no commercials saying "I'm glad [drug of choice] has a low risk of sexual side effects!"

Improved hand-eye coordination
Better memory
Less depression
Recover from brain damage
Less senility
Me talks nice like teacher
Better memory
Control seizures
Cure migraines
Become superior human, crush puny unenhanced inferiors, survive apocalyptic "rise of the machines"
Better memory

Could end up looking stupid
Small, but not entirely absent, chance of permanent brain damage link

Transcranial Direct link

LINDA BUSTEED sits nervously as two electrodes wrapped in large, wet sponges are strapped to her head. One electrode grazes the hairline above her left eye while the other sits squarely on her right eyebrow. Wires snake over her head to a small power pack fuelled by a 9-volt battery. Busteed drums her fingers on the table as she anticipates the moment when an electric current will start flowing through her brain.

It sounds like quackery, but it's not. A growing body of evidence suggests that passing a small electric current through your head can have a profound effect on the way your brain works. Called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), the technique has already been shown to boost verbal and motor skills and to improve learning and memory in healthy people - making fully-functioning brains work even better. It is also showing promise as a therapy to cure migraine and speed recovery after a stroke, and may extract more from the withering brains of people with dementia. Some researchers think the technique will eventually yield a commercial device that healthy people could use to boost their brain function at the flick of a switch.

tDCS depression trial
Preliminary findings suggest that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can have antidepressant effects. We sought to test this further in a parallel-group, double-blind clinical trial with 40 patients with major depression, medication-free randomized into three groups of treatment: anodal tDCS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (active group - 'DLPFC'); anodal tDCS of the occipital cortex (active control group - 'occipital') and sham tDCS (placebo control group - 'sham'). tDCS was applied for 10 sessions during a 2-wk period. Mood was evaluated by a blinded rater using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The treatment was well tolerated with minimal side-effects that were distributed equally across all treatment groups. We found significantly larger reductions in depression scores after DLPFC tDCS [HDRS reduction of 40.4% (+/-25.8%)] compared to occipital [HDRS reduction of 21.3% (+/-12.9%)] and sham tDCS [HDRS reduction of 10.4% (+/-36.6%)]. The beneficial effects of tDCS in the DLPFC group persisted for 1 month after the end of treatment. Our findings support further investigation on the effects of this novel potential therapeutic approach - tDCS - for the treatment of major depression.

Forum link
You can however "Google" "Transcranial direct current
stimulation" and you will find a number of research articles on the
subject. Basically tDCS involves passing a 1 - 2 milliamps through
the brain via the use of a couple of electrodes placed on the surface
of the Cranium. I know it sounds bizarre but many studies suggest
doing so can temporarily increase the rate of neural firing thus
inducing above baseline cognitive functions. Before you think
"Frankenstein" do some reading you'll find it's being seriously

The device they use to produce the 1 - 2 milliamps is supposed to be
very simple. It's a 9-volt battery and some resistance built in so
it produces 1 - 2 milliamps. The leads are hooked to a couple of
electrodes which are affixed to the skull for duration of 3 - 30
minutes. The current is so low most subjects feel nothing more than a
slight tingle if that.

That's all it is a 9-volt battery producing 1 - 2 milliamps and a
couple of electrodes.

More links:
Doctor Electric: A Handy Electromagnetic Gadget Stimulates the Brain

information site about tDCS

tDCS Forgotten so quickly?, Help me build a "thinking cap"?
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post Jul 11, 2008, 03:30 PM
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Do You want to enhance your brain power?

A little brain boost is something we could all use now and then. A new option may be on the horizon. Researchers at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in Bethesda, MD, are studying how applying gentle electrical current to the scalp can improve learning.

Previous small-scale studies have suggested that a stream of current can improve motor function, verbal fluency, and even language learning. To explore how effective such stimulation can be as a learning tool, Eric Wassermann, a neuroscientist at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is using an approach known as transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), in which an electrical current is passed directly to the brain through the scalp and skull. The technology for TDCS, which has been available for decades, is simple and fairly crude. (In the 1960s, it was used to improve mood in people with psychiatric disorders, although that effect hasn't been repeated in more recent studies.) And in contrast to people undergoing electroconvulsive therapy, a seizure-inducing treatment used for severe depression that requires anesthesia, people undergoing TDCS feel just a slight tingle, if anything.

I've made one of these devices myself. You can basically do it with a 9 volt battery, a radioshack kit with resistors and a couple of sponges cut up to small squares.

I didn't get really get any psychological effect, but I'm not sure if I targeted the right brain area. I put the sponge attached to the anode part of the battery on (or near) the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, while I put the sponge piece attached to the cathode above my right eyelid (from my perspective).

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