What is tDCS?
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, or simply tDCS, is a non-invasive neurostimulation technology, used to modulate neuronal activity and increase synaptic plasticity by applying a low-intensity current to the scalp through two or more electrodes.
The method can affect the activation of neuronal networks but is not strong enough to initiate non-existing neuronal activity.
The technology in itself is nothing new. What is new is that we make this technology available in a simple format, both for the end user and the clinician, to get the full benefits of tDCS.
What can tDCS be used for?
While the modern conception of tDCS is relatively young, at around 20 years, the idea of using subthreshold stimulation to change brain activity has another century of history behind it. These proto-tDCS techniques were used as antidepressants and as an analgesic. Interestingly, both of these applications are seeing a lot of research today.
Overall applications of tDCS can be split into cognitive enhancements observed in healthy individuals, and clinical benefits observed in a number of clinical groups.
The exact effects of tDCS depend on a number of factors, the main one is where the electrodes are placed as this decides which brain areas the current flows over. Different applications may require different montages
SUGGESTED CLINICAL APPLICATIONS
Even though tDCS is considered a completely safe form of brain stimulation, there are some crucial safety measures that must be taken into account in devices like PlatoWork to ensure that the product can only deliver the desired current and voltage.
1) The electronics in the control unit are built with a physical maximum load just above the amount needed for stimuli furthermore the design also includes current and voltage limitation circuitry in case of failure. 2) During use, when the headset is open, the charging port is obstructed making it physically impossible to connect the device to any other power source during stimulation. 3) There are several safety measures built into the firmware and software (controlling the hardware) that immediately will stop the stimulation if the continuously measured voltage and current deviates from normal operating limits. As such, it is technically impossible for the product to deliver more electricity than the amount proven to be safe for human subjects. Thus, the software limitations will ensure that the product cannot be used more than these prescribed boundaries.
PlatoWork is registered as a Class I medical device under the EU Medical Device Directive, 93/42/EEC. Ensuring a high quality and safe product for our users is our number one priority.
Potential side effects
Thousands of studies have, repeatedly, confirmed that tDCS has a very high safety profile. For most people the only side effect experienced is a tingling underneath the electrodes and maybe a reddening of the skin after the electrodes are removed. This reddening is caused by increased blood perfusion, that is increased blood inflow to the area, making the skin appear red. It goes away 15 - 30 minutes after stimulation.
More severe side effects do exist but are very rare. First degree burns and tension headaches can happen and a small handful of second degree burns have been reported over the last 20 years.
All reported side effects have been transient and no permanent side effects have ever been reported. It is precisely this safety and tolerability that makes tDCS such a great technology for home use; it meaningfully changes brain activity with far fewer side effects than techniques of comparable potency.
PlatoScience is legal entity registered in Denmark, and the information provided on this page is based on the regulations for the EU device market under the EU Medical Device Regulations (EU) 2017/745. If you are visiting this page from any other territory, PlatoScience is not responsible for the accuracy of the content on this webpage under the local jurisdiction of that territory. For further information, please contact us directly or contact the regulatory authorities for your territory.