September 27, 2018 – TDCS at Home


Anchor lead: Should you use a transcranial stimulation machine on your own? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Transcranial direct stimulation or TDCS delivers a small electrical current across the skull to the brain, and new research by Kyrana Tsapkini and colleagues at Johns Hopkins shows it helps some people with speech disorders. The machines are available for consumer purchase, with some enthusiasts using them at home for things like memory improvement. Tsapkini says caveat emptor.

Tsapkini: One session is not enough. We stimulate for three weeks straight every single day. What it does so if you put some current in a particular neuron what it does it makes the neuron fire easier. You have to pair it with a task. It does not work if I just watch TV and turn it on at home. Or do nothing. It strengthens the connection. :26

Tsapkini says there’s lots of ongoing research evaluating TDCS in people with memory impairment and those without, but that for now, a do it yourself approach probably isn’t likely to be fruitful. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.