TDCS-KIT

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TDCS KIT
TDCS kit.jpg
Category Brain stimulation
Developer www.tdcs-kit.com
Announced unknown
Released Developers: unknown
Consumers: unknown
Price 39.95 USD
Max output 2
2 T
2 mA
0.002 A
mA
Session duration 20
20 s
0.333 minute
min
Scalp location temple
Weight g unknown
Controls

switch

Data available
Risk factor
Medical prescription no
http://www.tdcs-kit.com/

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation kit (TDCS-kit) is a specific model of an electronic device used to enhance human cognition. [1] tDCS probably helps patients suffering from brain injuries, relieves pain (especially in fibromyalgia), symptoms of craving in addictions and depressive symptoms in major depressive disorder.[2][3]

  • It is 'a drug free (DIY) method to increase Concentration as well as relief for Depression, Anxiety and Migraine.[4]

The functionality of the device is based on the method known as Transcranial direct-current stimulation, which the brain and particular neurons are stimulated by, with a constant current via electrodes mounted on the scalp.[5]
The kit is delivered as Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solution and must be assembled by the customer. The reseller also disclaims all of responsibility and consequences caused by using the device.[4]

Main Characteristics

The tDCS-kit is a type of device, which directly modulate brain function. It is combination of pieces of equipment that is sold and used as Do-It-Yourself solution to enhance human cognitive funcitons (eg memory, attention, learning).[6]
tDCS is a type on noninvasive neuromodulation, which delivers weak direct current to the brain using small saline-soaked electordes. It is recommended to use intensity of 1-2 milliapm applied for 10-20 minutes 3 times per week. This stimulation excite or inhibit the sensori-motor cortex and the effect should last over an hour. Excitation is achieved by anodal (+) RED stimulation, which increases beta and gamma activity in the visual cortex. Inhibition is achieved by cathodal (-) BLACK stimulation, which decreases beta and gamma activity. [7] An electrode should be put over the brain function region and the other electrode on the shoulder and it is necessary to use some gel, saline or water under the electrodes. The electrodes should be kept away from the chest and the eye areas.[8]

Each kit includes:[9]

  • 1 Power Supply Unit
  • 2 2”x2” Long Lasting, Wet/Dry, Silver Cloth, foam-backed Electrodes
  • 1 1” Silver Cloth Electrode
  • 1 Storage bag
  • 1 HD or Gamers splitter wire
  • 1 Ear clip Ground Electrode.

Instructions for the right placement of the electrodes are available as links[10] [11] [12] [13] People, who want to use the tDCS device at home for treatment or as a cognitive enhancer should follow instructions given by the seller. There is a manual[8] available after buying a tDCS-kit, which contains also the brain maps and warning not to use the device in case of any implants, especially pacemakers. The guide does not replace any medical advice and the treatment should be discussed with a doctor. Thus the right application depends on the customer self-study of the brain areas and particular functions. See more about the Transcranial direct-current stimulation as a method itself.
This kit is not medical device and the producer offer no medical advice:

'Do-It-Yourself means It is your responsibility'[8]

Purpose

The main purpose of TDCS-KIT is to enhance human cognitive abilities. This device may have the capacity to "enhance" attention, learning, endurance, motor execution, memory, or other higher-order processes.[2] [14][15] It propably has a positive effect in the treatment of specific neuropsychiatric disorders.[4]

Company & People

No details about the seller of tDCS-kit are available, one possible way how to find out who stands behind the product is sending a query over WHOIS protocol, which obtains the information about the registration of website domain.
The result of WHOIS query (shortened):[16]

  • Registrant Name: James Watson
  • Registrant State/Province: Texas
  • Registrant Country: US

Important Dates

  • September 2012 - The internet domain tDCS-kit.com was registered.[16]
  • June 2014 - Facebook profile of tDCS-kit.com was created.
  • November 2014 - Twitter profile was created.
  • January 2015 - The video explaining how to get started using the tDCS-Kit device was uploaded to the manufacturer youtube channel.[17]

Enhancement/Therapy/Treatment

tDCS may help to "enhance" attention, learning, endurance, motor execution, memory, or other higher-order processes such as decision-making, risk-taking, or problem-solving.[2][14][15]

It is possible, however, that tDCS have no effect on the actual cognitive performance as it has been found by a quantitative review of past tDCS studies in 2015.[18] Studies claim, that tDCS enhances everything from creative-problem solving to the improvement of motor skills.[19] These information are available about the particular method, which should be used as a medical treatment, but not as a DIY device at home. Although the effects of tDCS kit devices are described as improve your attention, boost your memory, amp your mind, or power up, these are only advertising slogans to sell the product, but the scientists are warning againts using kits at home. For example in article: 'Transcranial devices are not playthings.'[20]

Recently published evidence-based guidelines on the therapeutic use of tDCS propose the use of tDSC for patients suffering from major depression, pain (fibromyalgia, chronic lower limb neuropathic pain) and craving (concerning alcohol abuse, crack-cocaine abuse and smoking). They also suggest a potential impact of tDCS on Parkinson's disease. At-home tDCS trial have been already reported as case reports for the treatment of chronic pain, tinnitus and multiple sclerosis. At-home do-it-yourself DCS has been also used in patients impaired by intracerebral haemorrhage, where at-home tDCS was used as an add-on intervention combined with physical therapy to improve the motor recovery. Recommendations have even been recently proposed for a safe use of remotely-supervised at-home tDCS, highlighting training of the user or caregiver with supervision and monitoring of compliance and clinical benefit or side-effects. However, an uncontrolled domiciliary utilization of tDCS devises exposes the patient to potential adverse events. [2]

Ethical & Health Issues

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) kit is a simple means of brain stimulation, which is relatively safe, inexpensive and effective, but in fact, there are some ethical and health issues related to the device. There is currently no evidence of serious side-effects by using tDCS kit, but 'there are still significant potential risks of misusing this device, and its long-term effects on the brain have not been fully explored'[19]

These kits are widely available without medical prescription and the users of DIY devices may not have sufficient knowledge on the structure of brain to place the electrodes accurately, what can cause unintended effects. Reversing of anodal and cathodal electrodes placement could lead to other results and there is a risk of brain impairment. Using this method without medical supervision can influence other treatment that DIY users are undergoing.[21] These problems are related to the current lack of regulation. In this case, the users can have the impression, that there are no significant risks associated with buying and using this device. Thus the solution of these ethical problems is the cognitive enhancement devices to be regulated in the same way as medical devices.[14] 'A response to the policy and regulatory aspects of tDCS is urgently needed.'[22] Some devices for neurostimulation are already subject to FDA regulation and are classified as medical devices as, for example, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, in 2011.[19]

Side effects

According to the study, in which the users of tDCS kits were asking about the side effects, was experiented headache, sickness, fatigue, nervousness, visual perceptual changes, acute mood changes, difficulties in concentration, sleeping disturbance and itching or burning under the electrodes.[19] Just as the positive effects on cognitive functions are these side effects very individual and there can be also placebo effects.

The burnings after using tDCS kit are the most common side effects.[23]

The users of tDCS device kits should obtain detailed information about the mechanisms, risks and effects (including the side effects) of the device, but this information is not described by the seller, who also disclaims all of responsibility and consequences caused by using the device.[4]

Public & Media Impact and Presentation

The amount of information on tDCS available to the public has increased dramatically in recent years in both academic literature and print media articles.[22]There are some difference between information given by media and manufactures and by scientists. The technique has caused excitement in the lay public and academia as a portable, painless, inexpensive and safe therapeutic and enhancement device.[24] The manufacturers claim that the tDCS headset will overclock your brain, increase your brain’s plasticity and make your synapses fire faster.[25] The media have enthusiastically reported that tDCS could be used to enhance cognitive function and allure potencial users with headlines such a[22]

  • Got a problem – put your electrical thinking cap on (Guardian Unlimited, February 2, 2011)
  • A zap to brain to bring out the genius in you (The Press Trust of India, February 3, 2011)
  • Zen and the art of genius (New Scientist, February 4, 2012)
  • Zap your way out of depression (Timaru Herald, February 14, 2013)
  • Therapies replace electroshock (Montreal Gazette,October 9, 2010)

While in the years 2010-2013 was tDCS DIY an absolute boom, since 2013 have appeared also warning articles making an appeal not to use tDCS devices at home. Since the New York Times article in October 2013 has described tDCS devices as ‘jump starter kits for the mind’[26], the number of tDCS articles published per year has been growing rapidly. For example BBC warns in 2014[27] and also tried to contact one of the distributor for further comment but did not receive any reply. In 2015 warns The Guardian[28] There are still DIY enthusiastics for example on YouTube[29], MTV editor Mary H K Choi wrote an amusing but inconclusive tDCS self-experimentation piece for Aeon.[30]

Dr. Roi Cohen Kadosh, a leading researcher in this area from the University of Oxford, claims: 'The advantage of it is when it is combined with a cognitive training, rather than just applied alone to the brain,'[24] He warns also in the BBC news, that 'You need to know how long to stimulate, at what time to stimulate and what intensity to use.'[27], what could be a problem by DIY users. Marom Bikson and colleagues warn in the International weekly journal of science 'Transcranial devices are not playthings'. In his article, he also compares using of tDCS devices to the danger of chemical drugs.[20]

Although there are several websites on the internet, where the tDCS kits are sold, this one on [1] provides in comparison to the others very few information and on the website are more links to the advertising articles. In the discussion on the reddit website[31] the users don´t recommend the tDCS-kit because of burnings after the using of electrodes, as was mentioned in the side effects section above.

Public Policy

These kits are not regulated and are available without medical prescription to anyone, but 'a response to the policy and regulatory aspects of tDCS is urgently needed'.[22]

Related Technologies, Projects, or Scientific Research

Along with tDCS method, there are other techniques under research, which concern neuropsychiatric disorders issues. A study[32] mentions three noninvasive brain stimulating technologies. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
There are many other DIY kits using tDCS method, for example:

  • The BrainStimulator[33]
  • The Apex Device[34]

As the first device used for transcranial direct-current stimulation, the GoFlow device developed by students at the University of Michigan is considered.[35]

There is a DIY tDCS users community, who shares information about tDCS on two major websites: www.reddit.com/r/tDCS and www.diytdcs.com. It is also available a study[19] on this community from 2015. In this study 97 out of 121 respondents demand an official guideline from government or experts fot the DIY users of tDCS.[19]

References

  1. BRUNONI, Andre Russowsky, et al. Clinical research with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS): challenges and future directions. Brain stimulation, 2012, 5.3: 175-195.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 LEFAUCHEUR J.P.; ANTAL A., et al. Evidence-based guidelines on the therapeutic use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). "Clinical Neurophysiology" 2017, 128: 56-92.</ Available online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bd65/d9d3a7f1a69cb14308586d224be8eb2b6b19.pdf (Retrieved 20th April, 2017)
  3. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for depression. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. August 2015. Available online at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ipg530. (Retrieved 10.11.2016)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 TDCS-kit.com. Available online at: http://www.tdcs-kit.com/. (Retrieved 17.10.2016)
  5. UTZ, K.S.; DIMOVA, V.; OPENLÄNDER, K.; KERKHOFF, G. Electrified minds: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) as methods of non-invasive brain stimulation in neuropsychology—A review of current data and future implications. Neuropsychologia. 2010. 48(10), 2789–2810. Available online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393210002319 (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  6. MASLEN, H.; DOUGLAS, T.; COHEN KADOSH, R.; LEVY N.; SAVULESCU, J. The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: extending the medical model. Journal of Law and the Biosciences. 2014. 1(1), 68-93. ISSN 20539711. Available online at: https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/jlb/lst003. (Retrieved 5.12.2016)
  7. TDCS-kit.com. Available online at: http://www.tdcs-kit.com/about/. (Retrieved 17.10.2016)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 tDCS-kit Information Manual. Available online at: http://www.tdcs-kit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/tDCS_guide-0914.pdf (Retrieved 4.12.16)
  9. TDCS-kit.com. Available online at: http://www.tdcs-kit.com/buy-the-kit/. (Retrieved 17.10.2016)
  10. tDCS placements. 2014. Available online at: http://tdcsplacements.com/ (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  11. DASILVA, A.F.; VOLZ, M.S.; BIKSON, M.; FREGNI, F. Electrode Positioning and Montage in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. 2011. Available online at: http://www.jove.com/video/2744/electrode-positioning-montage-transcranial-direct-current (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  12. BULUSU, S. International 10-20 system of electrode application. 2011. Available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwGIF5aCnqg. (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  13. The brain maps. 2009-2014. Available online at: http://www.brain-maps.com/index.html (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 MASLEN, H.; DOUGLAS, T.; KADOSH,R.C.; LEVY, N.; SAVULESCU, J. Do-it-yourself brain stimulation: a regulatory model. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2015. 41(5), 413-414. ISSN 03066800. Available online at: http://jme.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/medethics-2013-101692 (Retrieved 7.11.2016)
  15. 15.0 15.1 WEXLER A. The practices of do-it-yourself brain stimulation: implications for ethical considerations and regulatory proprosal. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2016. 42, 211-215. Available online at: http://jme.bmj.com/content/42/4/211 (Retrieved 25.04.2017)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Whois. Available online at: http://www.whois.com/whois/tdcs-kit.com (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  17. tDCS-Kit. 2015. Youtube. Available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_azCAJtWBi0 (Retrieved 4.12.2016)
  18. HORVATH, Jared Cooney et al. Quantitative Review Finds No Evidence of Cognitive Effects in Healthy Populations From Single-session Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). Brain Stimulation [online]. 2015, Jan 16. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2015.01.400. Available online at: http://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(15)00857-8/abstract (Retrieved 10th November, 2016).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 JWA, A. Early adopters of the magical thinking cap: a study on do-it-yourself (DIY) transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) user community. Journal of Law and the Biosciences. 2015. 2(2), 292-335. ISSN 20539711. Available online at: http://jlb.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsv017. (Retrieved 7.11.2016)
  20. 20.0 20.1 BIKSON, M.; BESTMANN, S.; EDWARDS, D. Neuroscience: Transcranial devices are not playthings. Nature. 2013. 501(7466), 167-167. ISSN 00280836. Available online at: http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/501167b. (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  21. FITZ, N.S.; REINER, P.B. The challenge of crafting policy for do-it-yourself brain stimulation. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2015. 41(5), 410-412. ISSN 0306-6800. Available online at: http://jme.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/medethics-2013-101458 (Retrieved 7.11.2016)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 DUBLJEVIĆ, V.; SAIGLE, V.; RACINE, V. The Rising Tide of tDCS in the Media and Academic Literature. Neuron. 2014. 82(4), 731-736. ISSN 08966273. Available online at: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0896627314003894 (Retrieved 7.11.2016)
  23. OHSNAPITSNATHAN. Sticky electrodes and skin burns. Discussion on reddit. tDCS device comparison table. August 2016. Available online at: https://www.reddit.com/r/tDCS/comments/4qx8ic/psa_sticky_electrodes_and_skin_burns/ (Retrieved 7.11.2016)
  24. 24.0 24.1 KADOSH, R.C.; LEVY, N.; O'SHEA, J.; SHEA, N.; SAVULESCU, J. The neuroethics of non-invasive brain stimulation. Current Biology. 2012. 22(4). ISSN 09609822. Available online at: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0960982212000140. (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  25. JARRETT, Ch. Read this before your brain stimulation. 2014. Availabe online at: https://www.wired.com/2014/01/read-zapping-brain/ (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  26. MURPHY, K. Jump-starter kits for the mind. The New York Times. 2013. Available online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/29/science/jump-starter-kits-for-the-mind.html (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  27. 27.0 27.1 HOGENBOOM, M. Warning over electrical brain stimulation. 2014. BBC News. Available online at: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27343047 (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  28. Warning: transcranial direct current stimulation can do your head in. The Guardian. May 2015. Available online at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2015/may/06/warning-transcranial-direct-current-stimulation-bad-for-iq (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  29. LEE, A. How to Build a Simple tDCS Device of Your Own. 2012. YouTube. Available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgFWEBwT6BE (Retrieved: 8.11.2016)
  30. CHOI, M.H.K. Zapped. Aeon. 2013. Available online at: https://aeon.co/essays/would-dabbling-in-cranial-stimulation-make-me-smarter (Retrieved 8.11.2016)
  31. EAGEE. Has anybody here used the tdcs-kit.com Kit?. March 2016. Discussion on reddit. Available online at: https://www.reddit.com/r/tDCS/comments/4b350g/has_anybody_here_used_the_tdcskitcom_kit/?sort=new (Retrieved 16.2.2016)
  32. GEORGE, M. ;ASTON-JONES, S. Noninvasive techniques for probing neurocircuitry and treating illness: vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009. 35(1), 301-316. ISSN 0893133x. Available online at: http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/npp.2009.87 (Retrieved 5.12.2016)
  33. The BrainStimulator. Available online at: https://thebrainstimulator.net (Retrieved 5.12.16)
  34. The Apex Device. Available online at: https://apexdevice.net/ (Retrieved 5.12.16)
  35. WEXLER, A. A pragmatic analysis of the regulation of consumer transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) devices in the United States. Journal of Law and the Biosciences. 12.10.2015. 669-696. Available online at: http://jlb.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/3/669.full.pdf+html (Retrieved 5.12.16)