Because I love to research emerging technologies, I occasionally come across items that are so compelling that I just cannot stop reading about them. That is the case with what I’m writing about today.
A 9 Volt Battery???
It’s becoming very clear that persons with serious brain related maladies can, in many cases, be very effectively treated (or cured) with the simple application of an extremely low current to the head, sourced from a single 9 volt battery! Nothing painful, exotic, complicated, or dangerous is involved. I’ll provide links to information below, but as an example of how far ranging transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) use is, the US Air Force and Army have, for years, used tDCS techniques I will describe to improve the cognitive capabilities of pilots!
Even if you choose not to continue reading this post, please read this one sentence: If you know someone with a brain related ailment, let me implore you to read, read, and read about transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). You decide.
I want to approach this topic with due caution. I’m going to discuss some sensitive matters and want to be clear that I am not a medical doctor. I’m simply bringing together some information that may be very helpful to you or someone you know. We all know individuals who suffer with depression (possibly severe), chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, and other brain-related conditions that are either untreated, or treated with medications that are perhaps expensive, ineffective, or have serious side effects.
tDCS has been available for many years but is only now coming to the awareness of the general public. The more you learn about it, the more you will wonder why! (Conspiracy theory?) tDCS basically involves using a tiny amount of energy from a 9 volt battery to radically improve (or save) someone’s life!
Think this is all hocus-pocus? Many big name institutions around the world are now involved in tDCS research including the University of Michigan, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, University Medicine Berlin, The City College of New York and many more.
What is the treatment?
A one milliamp ( 0.001 amp) direct current is applied via saline-wetted sponges to two points on the head (for example, for depression, the negative lead, just above the left eye on the forehead, and the positive lead on or about the right temple.) The treatment lasts about 20 minutes once a day for about 30 days and the person receiving the treatment feels nothing other than a slight tingle. Ongoing weekly or monthly treatments may be required. But they can easily be done at home. That’s it. No expensive medications with unpredictable results and terrible side effects. It apparently works! Wow! Big pharma does not like this at all!
tDCS effectiveness in treating a wide range of brain-related issues is documented in a number of studies and anecdotal praise is common in tDCS blogs and articles. The treatment hardware is so simple that people (sometimes desperate for help and at the end of their rope) are building their own tDCS treatment systems (about $20 in parts at Radio Shack! Instructions are on the web.)
Assembled tDCS equipment sold by vendors in the US requires FDA approval and a prescription raising the price to $500 or more. There are development groups working on kit tDCS systems (presumably to work around FDA approval red-tape) that plan to sell tDCS systems direct for about $100. (See http://flowstateengaged.com/ for an example)
There are doctors and clinics now offering tDCS services. One of the better known is in Atlanta – see http://www.transcranialbrainstimulation.com/ This from the Atlanta clinic website, “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a safe, non-invasive therapy for treatment-resistant neurologic, psychiatric and chronic pain disorders. Also, you can increase memory and learning with tDCS. Effective, easy-to-do, inexpensive and without side effects, tDCS can be done in the outpatient clinic or, for the appropriate patient, in the home which provides obvious advantages. “
Wow! Where has this been???
I’ll close for now and provide you with some links to investigate. tDCS looks to be a bombshell that could literally transform the lives of many, many people. It probably deserves your awareness!
As I continue my reading and research, I’ll revisit this topic in a future post.
To get you started: (Do some Google searching, too!)
General Interest Wikipedia Article
tDCS – Scientific American and the Air Force
General Interest Article with Many References
British Journal of Psychiatry
Interesting Video and Text about Electrode Positioning.