TDCS for Cognitive Enhancement

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) can be grouped with three of its cousins, all of which contribute to cognitive enhancement.  The other members of this family of neurotechnologies are Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (tMS), Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation (tRNS) and Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS). This post focuses in TDCS, which is the most used and studied of the four.

Roy Hamilton, MD, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, produced a one hour video on tDCS a year ago entitled Cognitive Enhancement with Noninvasive Brain Stimulation which can be found on YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWEr7eLvNX0,

Here is a summary of Dr. Hamilton’s comments:

  • The lay press reports tDCS makes one “smarter, better and quicker.”
  • With tDCS “everything seems to fall into place more”.
  • Subjects experience clearer heads and better performance.
  • Reading for content while receiving tDCS results in increased speed and accuracy in retention.
  • Motor learning sped up and improved, and improvement held after three months.
  • tDCS helps with math anxiety and increases test performance. Engaging in mathematics with tDCS (and tRNS) increased the individual’s speed and accuracy and the results held after six months.
  • Improved personal interactions which are more rational and less dramatic.
  • “No one has ever demonstrated any significant adverse effects from tDCS”.
  • Experimental documentation showed that tDCS delayed dishonest responses.

At the nCenter we use tDCS for cognitive enhancement, depression and anxiety. Remarkably, tDCS can also be used for strokes.