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tDCS and Learning: A Primer
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Posted on Jul 19, 2019 by Caputron
We at Caputron are a world-leading distributor of clinical and research-based neurostimulation technology. One of the most widely used forms of this technology is tDCS. However, what if you’ve never heard of this means of neurostimulation before and want to understand it better? We’re here to help! Let’s explore the basics of the technology and how it can prove to be highly beneficial to one’s mental wellness and disposition.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, otherwise known as tDCS, is a completely safe and non-invasive form of neurostimulation. It has been researched as an alternative treatment to alleviate the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and to assist with trouble with focusing, and much more. tDCS works by delivering a low-level, steady electrical current – between 1-2 mA – which then excites or inhibits specific neural activity as preferred. By gently influencing these electrical signals in the brain, you may experience various benefits. These can include improved focus, mood, learning capabilities, creativity, and mindfulness.
The electrode delivery system is straightforward to use, comprising of two soft pads that are attached to the head of the patient. The current is then administered from an external device that passes the electrical current through leads attached to the delivery pads, which then stimulates targeted areas of the brain in a safe, comfortable manner. Depending on where the current is administered, you can expect different effects to occur.
When it comes to getting the most out of a tDCS system, where you place the electrode pads makes all the difference. There are specific areas that benefit most from electrode placement, which are called montages. Each montage can transmit the electrical current to a different part of the brain, which means that where you place an electrode will influence specific desired effects.
For the best results, it’s important that you can understand and correctly use the International 10-20 EEG positioning system. This helps you to figure out where to place electrodes, which are then held in place by specialized headgear to ensure a secure fit and optimal stimulation. That’s why we at Caputron offer our own specialized universal head strap to benefit electrode placement. It’s completely user-friendly, with visible ruler markings of where to position them.
Did you know there are two electrodes used in a conventional tDCS montage setup? They are known as Anode and Cathode electrodes. Respectively, they deliver positive and negative currents. The tDCS process is made possible by the electrical current entering the body by way of the Anode electrode pad. This current then flows through the brain, stimulates as needed, and flows out of the body via the Cathode electrode. This a safe and comfortable experience for the user. Think of it as setting up a laundry line between two posts; depending on how high or low you position it, different gusts of wind may interact with the clothes on the line, drying faster or slower. The same principle applies to an electrode-based tDCS setup: The positioning of the Anode and Cathode pads directly influences what results you’ll get out of the system.
In conclusion, tDCS is a perfectly safe, reliable, and effective means of giving your mind that little extra boost we all need now and then. Perhaps you’d like to change your outlook on everyday life and “train” your brain to shift to a more positive mindset. Or, maybe you’re struggling with writer’s block and need a little surge of creativity. These and many more issues can be effectively addressed by this technology, which is in use everywhere from clinics to universities. To learn more, reach out to us at Caputron today and browse our selection of tDCS products! We offer consumer variants as well as solutions for clinical and research purposes.
The featured image appeared originally in a publication of Business Insider.