What is Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)?
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive, painless brain modulation treatment that uses very small direct electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain. A constant, low intensity current is passed through two electrodes placed over the head which modulates neuronal activity. There are two types of stimulation with tDCS: anodal and cathodal stimulation. Anodal stimulation generally acts to excite neuronal activity while cathodal stimulation inhibits or reduces neuronal activity.
Several hundred studies suggest it may be a valuable tool for the treatment of cognitive disorders, as well as, neuropsychiatric conditions such as mood disorders and chronic pain. Currently, tDCS is not an FDA-approved treatment. There are other forms of neuromodulation that have been approved for many years such as tACS for depression, anxiety and insomnia, rTMS for some forms of major depression, ECT, Neurofeedback and DBS.
tDCS is still an experimental form of brain stimulation, and appears to have several advantages over other brain stimulation techniques. It is relatively inexpensive compared to other neuromodulation interventions such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), non-invasive, painless and safe. It is also easy to administer and the equipment can be made portable for remote administered applications. The most common side effect of tDCS is a slight itching or tingling on the scalp.
Source: John Hopkins Medicine
Watch this video for more information on Clinical Application of tDCS (58:24)
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