Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
We are pleased to introduce the procedure of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), now being performed at the Bluewater Medical practices. It is a safe, non-invasive procedure which provides relief for many treatment-resistant conditions.
tDCS utilizes weak, direct electric current to modulate the activity and excitability of neurons which enhance brain plasticity, and the ability of the brain to reorganize and transform itself.
The study done on this treatment has proven to be effective in the treatment of:
- Chronic Pain
- Migraine Pain
- Cigarette / Food / Alcohol cravings
- Poor Concentration / Attention span
- ADHD and OCD
- Mood swings
- Poor Social skills
- Comprehension / learning abilities
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Pelvic abdominal pain
- Repetitive risk taking
- Post stroke rehabilitation
- Poor Sleep patterns
tDCS can improve concentration, attention, memory and learning for both healthy individuals and patients with disabilities.
The tDCS procedure is safe and easy to do. We use a German made stimulator which is certified for use in Australia. Electrodes are soaked with sterile salty water 0.9% to improve conductivity. The sponge electrodes are positioned over targeted areas of the brain, to deliver low-intensity, direct electric current to the scalp and underlying brain. The stimulator provides a tiny, imperceptible direct current which modulates nerve impulses. The use of the positive electrode/anode will enhance and excite targeted cortical neurons while negative electrode/cathode will inhibit and diminish, each promoting neural plasticity, resulting in clinical improvement that will continue for months.
Side effects of tDCS are uncommon and if any they are 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. Currently the Canadian government is undertaking the study of tDCS as a treatment of depression in pregnant women.
tDCS is not ECT
tDCS should not be confused with electroconvulsive therapy (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 anaesthesia. Multiple ECT treatments are required to relieve severe depression (6-20 treatments). ECT produces significant side-effects, including memory loss and confusion, it is only used for patients with severe, treatment-resistant depression.