Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

A Proven-Safe Alternative to Medication
The brain stimulation component of our solution consists of a technique called Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS for short). It has been studied since the early 1960s (though recently gaining in popularity), and has been proven a safe and effective treatment for depression. In fact, as scientists learn more about how neurons in the brain are altered in individuals experiencing depression, tDCS has gained even more attention as a viable solution to address the physiological factors involved with the disease.

How It Works (Don’t Worry—It Doesn’t Hurt!)
We will provide you with an easy-to-use headset which lightly stimulates the frontal regions of your brain through gentle electric pulses applied to your scalp. tDCS treatment is not painful. You may experience a slight tingling sensation where the electrodes are placed, but nothing more.

Individuals suffering from depression often have an imbalance in activity between the hemispheres in the front of the brain [1]. We know from neuroscience that people with increased activity in the left frontal part of the brain are more likely to see the world more positively than people with balanced activity [2]. When we stimulate the left side in people with depression, the depression symptoms decrease [3,4,5,6,7,11]. The electrical stimulation restores activity, promoting the correct balance between both frontal lobes.

Research and practice of tDCS have demonstrated long-term alteration in brain activity through increased neuroplasticity in the stimulated areas [8]. Put simply, tDCS helps increase the brain’s ability to change in certain key areas over time—an important aspect in tackling depression symptoms long term.

The users will begin their treatment with 10 days of headset use for about 25 minutes per day, while engaging in challenges given through the app. After this initial period, headset use will be advised twice per week for about four weeks, combined with daily app use which will guide the user through activities that help reduce symptoms of depression.

In Europe and most part of the world tDCS has been approved for the treatment of depression. The current of tDCS is comparable with a small 9 volt battery and its pulse is 400 times weaker than ECT treatments. The technique has been proven safe to use for adult use through numerous scientific studies [9,10]. 1000s of people have been through tDCS treatments and trials without any significant side-effects. Click here to learn who should NOT use tDCS.

Learn more:

Below you find references to a small selection of all the studies that has been done on tDCS for depression.

[1] Grimm S, Beck J, Schuepbach D, Hell D, Boesiger P, Bermpohl F et al (2008) Imbalance between left and right dorsolateral pre- frontal cortex in major depression is linked to negative emotional judgment: an fMRI study in severe major depression. Biol Psy- chiatry 63:369–376.
[2] Vanderhasselt MA, de Raedt R, Leyman L, Baeken C (2009) Acute effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on attentional control related to antidepressant outcomes. J Psychia- try Neurosci 34:119–126
[3] Fregni F, Boggio PS, Nitsche MA, Rigonatti SP, Pascual-Leone A (2006) Cognitive effects of repeated sessions of transcranial direct current stimulation in patients with depression. Depr Anxiety 23:1–3
[4] Fregni F, Boggio PS, Nitsche MA, Marcolin MA, Rigonatti SP, Pascual-Leone A (2006) Treatment of major depression with transcranial direct current stimulation. Bipolar Disord 8:203–205
[5] Boggio PS, Rigonatti SP, Ribeiro RB, Myczkowski ML, Nitsche MA, Pascual-Leone A et al (2008) A randomized, double-blind clinical trial on the efficacy of cortical direct current stimulation for the treatment of major depression. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 11:249–254
[6] Rigonatti SP, Boggio PS, Myczkowski ML, Otta E, Fiquer JT, Ribeiro RB et al (2008) Transcranial direct current stimulation and fluoxetine for the treatment of depression. Eur Psychiatry 23:74–76
[7] Loo CK, Sachdev P, Martin DM, Pigot M, Alonzo A, Malhi GS et al (2010) A double-blind, sham-controlled trial of transcranial direct current stimulation for the treatment of depression. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 13:61–69
[8] Nitsche MA, Paulus W (2001) Sustained excitability elevations induced by transcranial DC motor cortex stimulation in humans. Neurology 57:1899–1901
[9] Iyer MB, Mattu U, Grafman J, Lomarev M, Sato S, Wassermann EM (2005) Safety and cognitive effect of frontal DC brain polarization in healthy individuals. Neurology 64:872–875
[10] Palm U, Leitner B, Strube W, Hasan A, Padberg F (2015) Safety of repeated twice-daily 30 minutes of 2 mA tDCS in depressed patients. Int Neuropsychiatr Dis J 4:168–171
[11] Brunoni AR, Moffa AH, Fregni F, Palm U, Padberg F, Blumberger DM, Daskalakis ZJ, Bennabi D, Haffen E, Alonzo A, Loo CK (2016) Transcranial direct current stimulation for acute major depressive episodes: meta-analysis of individual patient data. Br J Psychiatry. 2016 Jun;208(6):522-31