View Full Version : tDCS/CES- Electrotherapy


Kunga Dorji
01-04-14, 07:28 PM
There have been a couple of threads on these modalities, and it is probably worth bringing these together. This is reasonably technical- so I will highlight the key words and abbreviations in bold.

tDCS and CES (Cranial electrical stimulation) are modalities that involve passing microcurrents through brain tissue.
They are variants of electrotherapy.
TENS is another variant- but uses higher power and different waveforms.

Waveforms used for CES are square waves- which, on penetrating the skin produce a wide scatter of harmonics. This is important as it seems that different tissues respond better to different harmonics- but we are not clear which matches ideally to which tissue, and often want to treat multiple tissues. Sine waves do not produce this scatter of harmonics.

Proprietary versions of CES have had considerable research behind them to identify waveform algorithms that have maximum skin penetration, and produce a range of harmonics.
Many of these algorithms involve square waves that start with a sharp spike to improve skin penetration.
Frequency is important-- low frequency (0.5 Hz) achieves deeper tissue penetration.

As discussed below- Currents in the Microampere (CES/tDCS) range are more effectie than currents in the Milliampere range (TENS).

So- while there are many DIY kits being trialled- I will not comment on those until I see some details on their algorithms and some clinical research on their effectiveness.

These microcurrent electrotherapies can also be applied via probes or adhesive pad electrodes to treat painful or inflamed muscles. There is also evidence to support accelerated wound healing when they are used.
This application is called Microcurrent Electrotherapy (MET). I will cover MET in some detail below as it illustrates the mechanism of action of these therapies at a cellular level in a way that is obvious and can be confirmed in 2 minutes or less by anyone who has access to a machine and has a painful muscle they want to treat.


I have previously commented on Alpha-Stim and continue to note significant improvements in my personal use of it.

I use it both via ear clips- and by direct application of probes across painful muscles that are in spasm. As expected- I have lower levels of anxiety, better sleep, clearer focus, and am rapidly mastering a very nasty long term chronic pain condition involving my lower neck and thoracic spine.


Other forms of tDCS aim to apply electrodes to specified areas of the scalp to aid in stimulating specific brain areas. I have not yet gathered enough information to be clear as to just how effective this specific electrode placement is.


I have spent time reviewing the available research and can come up with a number of key points on the mechanisms- but for clarity I will initially keep references to a minimum.

It appears that a key mechanism at the cellular level is enhancement of energy metabolism.

In the normal course of events glucose is oxidised within the mitochondria (small organelles within the cells) to convert a molecule called cyclic AMP (cAMP) to an energy charged form called ATP.
ATP is the useable form of energy that drives all internal cellular organelles and regulates the ion pumps in the cell membrane that allow neurones to conduct information by electrical discharge.

Current diets rich in trans fats are harmful to mitochondria as the trans fat is proven to accumulate within the mitochondria and impair their function.
It appears that other elements of Western lifestyle and diet may also be significant here as well - but degradation of mitochondrial numbers and functionality is one of the major correlates of ageing.

Mitochondrial function may also be impaired by poor oxygen supply.
An example of this that we all know is when we overwork a muscle and it starts to hurt due to lactic acid accumulation as the cells resort to anaerobic metabolism once their available energy is consumed.

Similarly- in the case of chronic muscle strain- the muscle will develop very tender nodules called trigger points.
At these points the muscle spasm is so intense that the muscle has cut off its own blood supply. As the cells continue to operate with insufficient oxygen, their functions become degraded and normal ion transfer across cell membranes does not occur. Lactic acid and free radicals accumulate - causing pain- and more spasm.

Equally- when we get a bruise or an infected cut and it swells, the accumulation of fluid between cells (interstitial oedema) increases the distance between the cell and the nearest capillary, and the efficiency of oxygen transfer is impaired.

So it is obvious that impaired oxygen supply or transfer or mitochondrial dysfunction will limit the functionality of the affected cells.

Equally, if this situation is chronic, the issue of long term damage to the cells and even cell death (apoptosis), is a real concern. In the case of brain cells- these are largely not replaceable-- so we need to pay some attention here.

As an aside:
I would argue that neuronal dysfunction (manifesting as mental fog, or emotional dysregulation) may well be a warning of impaired energy metabolism in the relevant cells. As there is research showing a statistical association between Alzheimers and various DSM disorders including ADHD, bipolar and depression-- this possibility certainly has got my attention.
I have no evidence to support the idea that CES may be neuroprotective- but do think it is a worthwhile question to ask.

Now what we do have in relation to CES/tDCS and MET is hard evidence of improved cellular energy levels as a result of treatment.

Research in 1982 showed that microcurrent stimulation increased ATP generation by almost 500%, but that increasing the current to milliampere levels (TENS) actually decreased the level of ATP.
Microcurrent was also shown to enhance amino acid transport and protein synthesis in the treated areas 30-40% above controls.
As neurotransmitters are derived from amino acids this finding is highly relevant to any neuropsychiatric condition.
(Ref Chang,N., Van Hoff,H., Bockx,E. et al (1982)
The effect of electric currents on ATP generation, protein synthesis and membrane transport in rat skin.
Clinical Orthopedics 171,264-272)

While there are limitations in using animal behavioural models to infer effects on humans, this consideration does not apply to basic cellular biology- especially in mammals.

So-- there is a basic mechanism that is highly relevant.

Next we need to consider the areas where the current penetrates.
Next post for that.

Kunga Dorji
01-04-14, 07:47 PM
My reference for the above:
Pain Management for Clinicians-6th Edition
Editor Richard S. Weiner
American Academy of Pain Management
Chapter 61: A Practical Protocol for Electromedical Treatment of Pain.

Chapter 61 available online at the Alpha Stim site.

Book review via Google books:
This authoritative reference, the Sixth Edition of an internationally acclaimed bestseller, offers the most up-to-date information available on multidisciplinary pain diagnosis, treatment, and management. Pain Management: A Practical Guide for Clinicians is a compilation of literature written by members of The American Academy of Pain Management, the largest multidisciplinary society of pain management professionals in North America and the largest physician-based pain society in the United States.

Note the comment on page 760:

"One word of Caution. Medicine is still a science.
Modern Electromagnetic therapies have attracted many charlatans. Simply said, not everything is equally safe and effective. Rely only on evidence based technologies."


Now Kirsch does now own the company that makes Alphastim- but he has got solid evidence for his particular device. I suspect that the evidence for the Fischer Wallace/Liss stimulator is as good-- but I have not personally reviewed it so I will not comment.

Some people here think that I personally do not care about evidence, and distrust scientific method. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This thread is important though- and nothing will go up that has not got some research evidence to back it. Where possible in discussing clinical outcomes I will point to metanalyses.

Kunga Dorji
01-04-14, 08:36 PM
The next question is one of which areas of the brain are affected by which treatments.
This has been a difficult one to establish accurately, but this paper, also available on the Alpha Stim site, provides a summary of current theory:

Again this one is in reference to fibromyalgia- but the principals remain the same:
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation and Fibromyalgia. Marshall F. Gilula

evidence is in part empirical
effects believed to be mediated through direct action on the reticular activating system (RAS), the limbic system and/or the hypothalamus.
It has also been suggested that CES works via increasing parasympathetc activity via the vagus +/- facial, trigeminal &glossopharyngeal nerves.
Auditory nerve stimulationmay be relevant.
CES studies in monkeys show 42-46% of the original current entering the brain- with the highest concentration being measured in the limbic system.
Rat studies showed 3 fold increases in beta endorphin with just one treatment.
Canine studies provide evidence that CES releases dopamine in basal ganglia


So-
1)modulation of the reticular activating system- which regulates alertness- directly relevant to ADHD
2) Modulation of the limbic system- again directly relevant to the impulse control issues in ADHD: improving limbic function directly diminishes the need for high levels of fronto-limbic regulation.
3) Increased beta endorphin production- leads to diminished pain perception and higher feelings of well being.
4) Increased dopamine transmission to the basal ganglia again addresses an area known to be abnormal in ADHD.

I pose the question here-- is the mechanism purely because an increase of available energy allows these systems to do their job properly?

This is so relevant to ADHD- as we know right from wrong, we can inhibit and self regulate in many circumstances, but in other circumstances the systems that normally work well, just do not kick in. Then it looks like we are being deliberately difficult.

Kunga Dorji
01-04-14, 08:45 PM
Now to a higher level of complexity:

We know that in ADHD, Quantitative EEG shows a relative dominance of theta and delta brainwave states and relatively low alpha states.
Alpha states are associated with relaxed alertness and good meditative states.
The appended pilot study is of interest in that it shows the brainwave changes that can be measured,and the brainwave changes match the subjective experiences reported, and also match the targets of neurobiofeedback- which now has level 1 evidence for ADHD.

Again- go to the Alphastim site for the original paper.
His full final doctoral dissertation can also be accessed.
CHANGES IN QUANTITATIVE EEG AND LOW RESOLUTION TOMOGRAPHY FOLLOWING CRANIAL ELECTROTHERAPY STIMULATION
Richard C. Kennerly, B.A., M.A.






JOURNAL OF NEUROTHERAPY QEEG Analysis of Cranial Electrotherapy: A Pilot Study
Richard Kennerly, MA
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas






The current study was conducted to determine the effect of cranial electrotherapy on cortical ac- tivity as measured by QEEG before and after a single 20-minute use of cranial electrotherapy. This pilot study is being followed up by a double blind placebo controlled study of cortical activation changes from baseline with three and six weeks of CES treatment.

Changes wre seen across the entire cortex in delta and gamma frequencies. This effect was uniform for all volunteers. After a single 20-minute session of electro- therapy decreases were seen in delta and theta frequency activity with con- comitant significant increase in alpha activity. The study volunteers generally reported feeling more relaxed after 20 minutes of CES. Some volunteers re- ported feeling as if their head had cleared and they felt more awake.


Research volunteers who reported pain or anxiety before the single session of CES treatment reported significant reductions in pain and anxiety after the 20-minute treatment.

Kunga Dorji
01-04-14, 09:07 PM
This short You Tube clip discusses the difference between CES and tDCS in broad terms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc7NNr8KnYs

Kunga Dorji
01-05-14, 12:40 AM
This discussion of the Cellular Mechanisms of tDCS makes it clear that a very different mechanism is being proposed for tDCS.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPE7mU3myfk

Garbanzo Dude
01-21-14, 04:33 PM
anyone ever try this?? for add or depression/anxiety? there are some success stories with alpha stim or fisher wallace.....anyone here

Kunga Dorji
01-21-14, 04:54 PM
anyone ever try this?? for add or depression/anxiety? there are some success stories with alpha stim or fisher wallace.....anyone here


I am plugged into Alpha Stim right now.
It certainly helps my alertness, focus and energy, and timed well improves my sleep.
It makes me significantly less tense- and has been instrumental in breaking my chronic pain problem.

I have been dealing with a really nasty pain- stress cycle precipitated by a personal crisis for two years now- and this has really accelerated by recovery- along with a pre-existing program of exercise and meditation.
Need for stimulants has become much less frequent and need for analgesic or antispasmodic medication is also dropping sharply.

I work as a doctor- and am well used to reading scientific papers. I am impressed by the quality of the papers presented on the alphastim site for pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia and anxiety.
They have encouraging case reports for ADHD- but it needs to be understood that most of us with ADHD have our attention problems made much worse by insomnia and stress-- so even if there is not a direct mechanism for ADHD- in mitigating the complicating factors it is predictable that it should improve our function.

After all- improved function is what we all want.

Garbanzo Dude
01-21-14, 05:04 PM
Thanks! I'm trying to see a doc at UCLA who works with all the brands of these devices....they have good results on depression and anxiety also, what I want to know is if you can take low does of meds while on it??

MarkuZ
01-25-14, 02:50 PM
Are there new researches on that area about ADHD? I put a lot of hope in these new treatments, but it seems people are much more interested in other conditions such as depression and do not care about trying for ADHD :(

Kunga Dorji
01-26-14, 04:37 AM
There is some limited research and many case reports re ADHD on the Alphastim site.
The Chinese appear to be very interested in it.


However, there is really good evidence on the AlphaStim site that it is helpful for anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain.
Most ADDers have issues with at least the first three- and none of them improve our attention.
If these are all improved we will be better off than without.

Ask yourself- what ADHD person does not know days when his/her attention works really well?

The real issue with this damned condition is that we have good days and bad days- and our bad days disappoint us as much as they irritate everyone else.
Then ask-- what if I could be like my best day every day?

Neanderthal
07-06-14, 12:39 AM
what are the differences between Alpha-stim, Oasis Pro, CES ultra and Fisher Wallace?

CES ultra is more suited for my budget but i think that only FW is sold here in Brazil

faller
07-07-14, 11:23 AM
FWIW I ordered a tDCS kit and will post once I try it.

Lots of info here!

Kunga Dorji
07-07-14, 09:20 PM
Thanks! I'm trying to see a doc at UCLA who works with all the brands of these devices....they have good results on depression and anxiety also, what I want to know is if you can take low does of meds while on it??


A late reply-- but the short answer is yes.

I have personally trialled this-- and I suspect that using the combination has been critical in reducing my need for stimulants ( I am still less than 1/2 way through a month's supply that was started 2.5 months ago-- and use them now only when I have had a very disrupted night's sleep).

The subjective experience was of a very high quality calm stable attention state.

There is straightforwards evidence showing a reduction in stress state with use of the alpha stim-- after using it the brain wave pattern settles in a predominantly alpha state- which is compatible with relaxed alertness.

It is easily observed that a stress state destabilises attention, and it is also known that in a stress state there is a relative diversion of blood flow away from the frontal lobes and temporal lobes.

Given these two observations it should be clear that the CES devices can be used in a way that complements the effects of stimulants.

In fact, my guess would be that using them together would be expected to reduce some of the sympathomimetic side effects of stimulants (ie dry mouth, muscle tension, nausea).
It would be interesting to see if that had been researched.

Kunga Dorji
07-07-14, 09:21 PM
FWIW I ordered a tDCS kit and will post once I try it.

Lots of info here!

tDCS is a different technology and very different effect. It will be interesting to hear what the results are.

SB_UK
07-08-14, 07:48 AM
CES studies in monkeys show 42-46% of the original current entering the brain

Won't losing body fat (as a resistor) result in us increasing current flowing from the planetary surface through the body ie into the brain - mimicking CES.

V=IR
V = constant ie your feet as electrodes on the planet (swirling iron planetary core) and R -> reduction if body fat reduces meaning that

- I (CES) goes up.

Kunga Dorji
07-11-14, 11:32 AM
Won't losing body fat (as a resistor) result in us increasing current flowing from the planetary surface through the body ie into the brain - mimicking CES.

V=IR
V = constant ie your feet as electrodes on the planet (swirling iron planetary core) and R -> reduction if body fat reduces meaning that

- I (CES) goes up.
My best assessment is that we are looking at 2 very different effects-- especially as CES is delivered through a complex algorithm of square waves- designed to stimulate a range of resonant frequencies and to resonate with cell bodies of varied sizes.

devildoll
08-10-14, 01:04 AM
So, any reason not to try a CES?

I'm in my third year of treatment with Rx and haven't seen a consistent improvement.

Seems like Fisher Wallace offer a free trial period. Can't tell if AlphaStim do or not.

But assuming money would be refundable, is there a clear reason not to test this out?
Would a prescription be required?

devildoll
08-22-14, 08:04 PM
bump...

c'mon, I'm really curious

Kunga Dorji
08-25-14, 04:24 AM
So, any reason not to try a CES?

I'm in my third year of treatment with Rx and haven't seen a consistent improvement.

Seems like Fisher Wallace offer a free trial period. Can't tell if AlphaStim do or not.

But assuming money would be refundable, is there a clear reason not to test this out?
Would a prescription be required?

Prescription is required in the USA but nowhere else in the world.

In Australia anyone can buy one, but the only therapeutic claims that have been licenced here so far are pain relief and relaxation. Bear in mind that getting each individual therapeutic claim licenced is an expensive process and any company will make a commercial decision on this issue that reflects their assessment of the potential market even when they do have good data.

The extensive research data presented on the Alpha-stim site states that there have been no known serious persistent side effects. There are certainly side effects of mild nausea or dizziness if the current is too high or the recipient is too active.

I have enquired with the parent company and they say they have no evidence to support its safe use in pregnancy, and that if one has a pacemaker that one should be sure to check with one's cardiologist to see that it is ok. Current models appear not to be an issue. I guess the other potential issue could be epilepsy-- but I have not researched that.

mildadhd
09-08-14, 05:09 PM
I was working on a learning thread called Neuromodulation (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1678296#post1678296), and some of the information reminded me of this thread, so wanted to post this here before I forget, for discuss and opinion.


Thanks


Neuromodulation (medicine) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuromodulation_(medicine)), defined by the International Neuromodulation Society as “the alteration of nerve activity through the delivery of electrical stimulation or chemical agents to targeted sites of the body,” is carried out to normalize – or modulate – nerve function. Neuromodulation can involve a range of electromagnetic stimuli such as a strong magnetic field (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation), a very small electric current or, potentially, light (optogenetics).[1]

Electrical stimulation using implantable devices, also known as neurostimulation, came into modern usage in the 1980s and its techniques and applications have continued to develop and expand.[2] The therapy employs the body’s natural biological response by stimulating nerve cell activity that can influence populations of nerves by releasing transmitters, such as dopamine, or other chemical messengers such as the peptide Substance P, that can modulate the excitability and firing patterns of neural circuits.


And


Neuromodulation (biology) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuromodulation)is the physiological process by which a given neuron uses one or more neurotransmitters to regulate diverse populations of neurons. This is in contrast to classical synaptic transmission, in which one presynaptic neuron directly influences a single postsynaptic partner. Neuromodulators secreted by a small group of neurons diffuse through large areas of the nervous system, affecting multiple neurons. Examples of neuromodulators include dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, histamine and others.

Neuromodulation can be conceptualized as a neurotransmitter that is not reabsorbed by the pre-synaptic neuron or broken down into a metabolite. Such neuromodulators end up spending a significant amount of time in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), influencing (or "modulating") the activity of several other neurons in the brain. For this reason, some neurotransmitters are also considered to be neuromodulators, such as serotonin and acetylcholine





P

mildadhd
09-09-14, 01:53 PM
Dopamine Neuropeptides?




P

alan1
09-24-14, 11:30 PM
I've posted this elsewhere but I will repost here.

Post 1: I heard the radiolab story on TDCS and thought - can it really be that simple?
After doing as much research as one can on the internet I bought a unit from trans-cranial. It is several hundred dollars but they do offer a money back guarantee.

After just a couple of weeks here is what I can tell you. Focus for me is very difficult when it comes to things requiring brainpower. For example, I play an instrument and enjoy it. But practicing scales and learning new music, after literally 3 - 3 1/2 minutes (I'm always working with a timer) I need a mental break. It is hard to improve when you practice in 3 minute increments. With the brain stimulator I'm good for the full 20 minutes it is on without stopping. It is an amazing, head clearing feeling. Like driving on a newly paved road after all the potholes and trash have been removed. All I can say is wow. There is some residual effect for a short while later but it is not nearly as good as when it is on. I also feel much calmer. I'm hoping that the changes become more constant but we'll see. I have not had any headaches with its use as some report. At the beginning there is a very slight burning sensation but that quickly goes away.

Post 2: At first I put the anode over FP1 and cathode at FP3. That worked pretty well. My focus was better. On day 1 it was very modest - just barely perceptible. On day 2 it was very noticeably better and on day 3 going forward it was MUCH better. For the 20 minutes I use it I can do whatever intellectual activity I want and my brain is pretty clear and without distraction or desire to stop. That was IMPOSSIBLE before. My only thought now is "so THIS is what life is like without ADHD!"

There are many other montages (ways to place the electrodes). The "savant learning" montage is with the anode over T4 and the cathode over T3. That was better than without the stimulation but not as good in terms of learning or concentration. I tried it again but this time with the opposite placement (anode at T3, cathode at T4) and that was much much better than either of the above.

When I practiced trumpet scale exercises I always use a metronome. Previously I was able to do these exercises for only 3 - 4 minutes at a time without the need for a mental break. I could resume them after doing something else (e.g. surf the internet) for 5 - 10 minutes. Since I'm always pushing the envelope to do them faster, the level of difficulty is about the same from day to day. Using a metronome also gives some means of measure. With the stimulation on day 3 I was able to push the metronome by 12% - 14% faster with every scale I played (after being stuck at the same tempo for weeks) and could practice continuously for the entire 20 minutes that I used the stimulation.

Much as I would love to practice all day with this thing on, safety parameters have not been fully established so I limit myself to the 20 minutes that most experts recommend.

Kunga Dorji
09-25-14, 05:08 AM
I've posted this elsewhere but I will repost here.

Post 1: I heard the radiolab story on TDCS and thought - can it really be that simple?
After doing as much research as one can on the internet I bought a unit
from trans-cranial. It is several hundred dollars but they do offer a money back guarantee.

After just a couple of weeks here is what I can tell you. Focus for me is very difficult when it comes to things requiring brainpower. For example, I play an instrument and enjoy it. But practicing scales and learning new music, after literally 3 - 3 1/2 minutes (I'm always working with a timer) I need a mental break. It is hard to improve when you practice in 3 minute increments. With the brain stimulator I'm good for the full 20 minutes it is on without stopping. It is an amazing, head clearing feeling. Like driving on a newly paved road after all the potholes and trash have been removed. All I can say is wow. There is some residual effect for a short while later but it is not nearly as good as when it is on. I also feel much calmer. I'm hoping that the changes become more constant but we'll see. I have not had any headaches with its use as some report. At the beginning there is a very slight burning sensation but that quickly goes away.

Post 2: At first I put the anode over FP1 and cathode at FP3. That worked pretty well. My focus was better. On day 1 it was very modest - just barely perceptible. On day 2 it was very noticeably better and on day 3 going forward it was MUCH better. For the 20 minutes I use it I can do whatever intellectual activity I want and my brain is pretty clear and without distraction or desire to stop. That was IMPOSSIBLE before. My only thought now is "so THIS is what life is like without ADHD!"

There are many other montages (ways to place the electrodes). The "savant learning" montage is with the anode over T4 and the cathode over T3. That was better than without the stimulation but not as good in terms of learning or concentration. I tried it again but this time with the opposite placement (anode at T3, cathode at T4) and that was much much better than either of the above.

When I practiced trumpet scale exercises I always use a metronome. Previously I was able to do these exercises for only 3 - 4 minutes at a time without the need for a mental break. I could resume them after doing something else (e.g. surf the internet) for 5 - 10 minutes. Since I'm always pushing the envelope to do them faster, the level of difficulty is about the same from day to day. Using a metronome also gives some means of measure. With the stimulation on day 3 I was able to push the metronome by 12% - 14% faster with every scale I played (after being stuck at the same tempo for weeks) and could practice continuously for the entire 20 minutes that I used the stimulation.

Much as I would love to practice all day with this thing on, safety parameters have not been fully established so I limit myself to the 20 minutes that most experts recommend.

A couple of comments here - some relevant to electrotherapy- some to being a musician, and some to everything we do.

1) You comment that safety parameters have not been established for electrotherapy.
In this context I am sure that you are aware that safety parameters have not been established for mobile phone usage- nor are they likely to be- as such research may impinge upon commercial interests.

So the point is-- what is the difference in our acceptance of one modality of brain irradiation over the other?
Is that choice made on the basis of convenience and utility- or is something else in play?
( Yes I do know I am being a stirrer and a troublemaker here- but can anyone explain why these are not fair questions?)

2) In terms of music practice-- have you worked with "No tempo practice?"- ie perfecting each individual move from note to note- really slowly so that the action of doing each move perfectly is learned- not the sloppiness that happens when we try to drill in a new practice according to somebody else's time scale. Music scales are about execution of the correct note. Timing practice is a separate issue. Why entangle them too early?

3) A bigger issue behind the music practice issue, and behind everything else we do is the issue of learning to execute every movement we do with perfect ease and comfort. I am 53 and I have, at long last, figured out that the number one reason for my procrastination is the very simple reason that whatever I am driving myself to do HURTS- physically.
If it hurts, I don't want to do it.
Most of us Westerners are so obsessed with cognition that we cannot even feel our own physical pain. It takes years of Vipassana practice to deprogram this attentional bias.

This point was made very well by Ken Robinson in his talk "Do Schools kill creativity?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

Neanderthal
10-03-14, 09:50 PM
I've posted this elsewhere but I will repost here.

Post 1: I heard the radiolab story on TDCS and thought - can it really be that simple?
After doing as much research as one can on the internet I bought a unit from trans-cranial. It is several hundred dollars but they do offer a money back guarantee.

After just a couple of weeks here is what I can tell you. Focus for me is very difficult when it comes to things requiring brainpower. For example, I play an instrument and enjoy it. But practicing scales and learning new music, after literally 3 - 3 1/2 minutes (I'm always working with a timer) I need a mental break. It is hard to improve when you practice in 3 minute increments. With the brain stimulator I'm good for the full 20 minutes it is on without stopping. It is an amazing, head clearing feeling. Like driving on a newly paved road after all the potholes and trash have been removed. All I can say is wow. There is some residual effect for a short while later but it is not nearly as good as when it is on. I also feel much calmer. I'm hoping that the changes become more constant but we'll see. I have not had any headaches with its use as some report. At the beginning there is a very slight burning sensation but that quickly goes away.

Post 2: At first I put the anode over FP1 and cathode at FP3. That worked pretty well. My focus was better. On day 1 it was very modest - just barely perceptible. On day 2 it was very noticeably better and on day 3 going forward it was MUCH better. For the 20 minutes I use it I can do whatever intellectual activity I want and my brain is pretty clear and without distraction or desire to stop. That was IMPOSSIBLE before. My only thought now is "so THIS is what life is like without ADHD!"

There are many other montages (ways to place the electrodes). The "savant learning" montage is with the anode over T4 and the cathode over T3. That was better than without the stimulation but not as good in terms of learning or concentration. I tried it again but this time with the opposite placement (anode at T3, cathode at T4) and that was much much better than either of the above.

When I practiced trumpet scale exercises I always use a metronome. Previously I was able to do these exercises for only 3 - 4 minutes at a time without the need for a mental break. I could resume them after doing something else (e.g. surf the internet) for 5 - 10 minutes. Since I'm always pushing the envelope to do them faster, the level of difficulty is about the same from day to day. Using a metronome also gives some means of measure. With the stimulation on day 3 I was able to push the metronome by 12% - 14% faster with every scale I played (after being stuck at the same tempo for weeks) and could practice continuously for the entire 20 minutes that I used the stimulation.

Much as I would love to practice all day with this thing on, safety parameters have not been fully established so I limit myself to the 20 minutes that most experts recommend.

I bought a national CES device but after 2 months of use (0.5Hz for insomnia) felt no difference and now I will try TDCS ... how long after use you still feeling the effects? which current you utilize?

burger
10-04-14, 06:36 AM
There's a tcds forum on reddit. There's quite a bit of information there. I would read the posts for a while since there's stuff you might be able to avoid like montages that can cause aggression, getting burns on your head, correct sponge size (current density), possible effects of tcds with medication, long term strategies/effects, etc...

nuvisys
03-20-16, 01:25 AM
I bought a national CES device but after 2 months of use (0.5Hz for insomnia) felt no difference and now I will try TDCS ... how long after use you still feeling the effects? which current you utilize?

Sir, d you mean 0.5hz and it's harmonics? It is supposed to have harmonics up to 20khz (the whole sound spectrum). To be sure, the output should should be full of harmonics as shown on a spectrum analyzer. My homemade CES device does this. Ear current should not go beyond 1ma. (10-800uA). If the current is too much, you may begin to see flashes. According to Dr. Bob Beck, the inventor of the Brain Tuner in 1983, use the device for not more than 30".
His first proto has 256 harmonics and the improved model has over 500.
My homemade unit (2016) has over 2000.