Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a safe, new, non-invasive procedure which provides relief for treatment-resistant neurologic, psychiatric and chronic pain conditions. tDCS also improves attention, memory and learning for both healthy individuals and patients with disabilities. tDCS is performed at the clinic in Atlanta or can be self-administered with training and supervision through the Home-Use Program.
tDCS utilizes weak, direct electric current to modulate the activity and excitability of neurons which enhance brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to reorganize and transform itself.
Chronic pain of central origin which includes migraine, fibromyalgia, painful neuropathies and complex regional pain syndrome is relieved by tDCS.
Psychiatric conditions which respond to tDCS include treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and hallucinations.
Neurological disorders improved by tDCS include tinnitus, epilepsy, stroke, insomnia, age related cognitive decline and the dementias.
The tDCS procedure is safe and easy to do. Sponge electrodes are positioned over targeted areas of the brain. A portable, FDA certified stimulator provides a tiny, imperceptible direct current which modulates nerve impulses. Clinical benefits are achieved as a result of the long-term potentiation and inhibition induced by tDCS and the improvements persist for months.
tDCS and rTMS
tDCS delivers low-intensity, direct electric current to the scalp and underlying brain. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) uses electromagnetic induction to generate electric currents in the brain.
In general, low-frequency rTMS and cathodal tDCS diminish, while high-frequency rTMS and anodal tDCS enhance excitability of targeted cortical neurons. Both rTMS and tDCS promote neural plasticity plasticity, which results in clinical improvement; however tDCS is safer, more comfortable, easier to do, more affordable, and produces a more robust response. In addition, tDCS can be self-administered at home.
tDCS is not ECT
tDCS should not be confused with electroconvulsive (ECT) or "shock therapy." With ECT, a much larger current of 600-1000 milliamps (mA) is applied to the entire brain, compared to the 1-2 mA used in tDCS. ECT results in a grand mal seizure and must be done under general anesthesia. Multiple ECT treatments are required to relieve severe depression (6-20 treatments). Because ECT produces significant side-effects, including memory loss and confusion, it is only used for patients with severe, treatment-resistant depression.
Side effects of tDCS are uncommon and mild. There may be reddening of the skin under the electrodes. Rarely, a slight, temporary headache can occur during the treatment. There is no injury or harm to the brain with tDCS and there is an extremely wide margin of safety based on laboratory, clinical and computational modeling studies.
The mission of the Brain Stimulation Clinic is to provide transcranial direct current stimulation to relieve suffering and enhance quality of life.