The CCNY Neural Engineering group is excited for two important papers on the mechanisms of tDCS published in the same issue of Brain Stimulation journal.

Direct Current Stimulation Modulates LTP and LTD: Activity Dependence and Dendritic Effects.  

Kronberg G, Bridi M, Abel T, Bikson M, Parra LC.
Brain Stimul. 2017 Jan – Feb;10(1):51-58. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2016.10.001. Epub 2016 Oct 5. PMID: 28104085

Download PDF: Kronberg_DCS

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Direct Current Stimulation Alters Neuronal Input/Output Function.

Lafon B, Rahman A, Bikson M, Parra LC.
Brain Stimul. 2017 Jan – Feb;10(1):36-45. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2016.08.014. Epub 2016 Sep 1.PMID: 27717601

Download PDF: Lafon_DCS

Jackson MP, Truong D, Brownlow ML, Wagner JA, McKinley RA, Bikson M, Jankord R. Safety parameter considerations of anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in rats.  Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 2017 pii: S0889-1591(17)30110-1. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.04.008 Jankord_Safety_tDCS_2017

Nitsche M. Bikson M. Extending the parameter range for tDCS: Safety and tolerability of 4 mA stimulation. Brain Stimulation. Editorial, Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 541–542, 2017 Nitche_Bikson_BrainStim_2017

And don’t forget our seminal 2016 safety review here

April 7, 2017. 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, 333 Curry Student Center, Northeastern University, Boston

“Translational Neural Engineering: Accelerated medical device design for treatment of neuro-psychiatric disorders and brain injury”

The design and clinical deployment of new medical devices on an accelerated time scale (as little at 6 months) requires an interdisciplinary team and skill set spanning basic science, biomedical engineering, regulatory, and clinical trials. This talk uses a series of case-studies to diagram a process for rapid translational medical device design, with a focus on non-invasive electrical stimulation technology. This generalizable medical design process is translational because basic science stages are already informed by regulatory and clinical challenges, while clinical trials are designed around engineering features and limitations.

Slides: BiksonDesign

Remotely Supervised Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Increases the Benefit of At-Home Cognitive Training in Multiple Sclerosis

Neuromodulation. 2017 Feb 22. doi: 10.1111/ner.12583. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 28225155

Leigh Charvet, PhD; Michael Shaw, BS; Bryan Dobbs, MS; Ariana Frontario, BS; Kathleen Sherman, MS; Marom Bikson, PhD; Abhishek Datta, PhD; Lauren Krupp, MD; Esmail Zeinapour, MS; Margaret Kasschau, BS

Full paper PDF: 10.1111@ner.12583

Objective: To explore the efficacy of remotely-supervised transcranial direct current stimulation (RS-tDCS) paired with cognitive training (CT) exercise in participants with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: In a feasibility study of RS-tDCS in MS, participants completed ten sessions of tDCS paired with CT (1.5 mA 3 20 min, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex montage). RS-tDCS participants were compared to a control group of adults with MS who underwent ten 20-min CT sessions through the same remotely supervised procedures. Cognitive outcomes were tested by composite scores measuring change in performance on standard tests (Brief International Cognitive Assessment in MS or BICAMS), basic attention (ANT-I Orienting and Attention Networks, Cogstate Detection), complex attention (ANT-I Executive Network, Cogstate Identification and One-Back), and intra-individual response variability (ANT-I and Cogstate identification; sensitive markers of disease status). Results: After ten sessions, the tDCS group (n 5 25) compared to the CT only group (n 5 20) had significantly greater improvement in complex attention (p 5 0.01) and response variability (p 5 0.01) composites. The groups did not differ in measures of basic attention (p 5 0.95) or standard cognitive measures (p 5 0.99). Conclusions: These initial findings indicate benefit for RS-tDCS paired with CT in MS. Exploratory analyses indicate that the earliest tDCS cognitive benefit is seen in complex attention and response variability. Telerehabilitation using RS-tDCS combined with CT may lead to improved outcomes in MS.

Higher-order power harmonics of pulsed electrical stimulation modulates corticospinal contribution of peripheral nerve stimulation.
Chen CF, Bikson M, Chou LW, Shan C, Khadka N, Chen WS, Fregni F.
Nature Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 3;7:43619. doi: 10.1038/srep43619.
PMID: 28256638  Download Full Paper: srep43619

Abstract: It is well established that electrical-stimulation frequency is crucial to determining the scale of induced neuromodulation, particularly when attempting to modulate corticospinal excitability. However, the modulatory effects of stimulation frequency are not only determined by its absolute value but also by other parameters such as power at harmonics. The stimulus pulse shape further influences parameters such as excitation threshold and fiber selectivity. The explicit role of the power in these harmonics in determining the outcome of stimulation has not previously been analyzed. In this study, we adopted an animal model of peripheral electrical stimulation that includes an amplitude-adapted pulse train which induces force enhancements with a corticospinal contribution. We report that the electrical-stimulation-induced force enhancements were correlated with the amplitude of stimulation power harmonics during the amplitude-adapted pulse train. This is a pilot, but important first demonstration that power at high order harmonics in the frequency spectrum of electrical stimulation pulses may contribute to neuromodulation, thus warrant explicit attention in therapy design and analysis.

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 Scientists, entrepreneurs in Chicago area tackle ‘brain hacking’

March 3, 2017, by Ted Gregory

Link to article

Selection: “Marom Bikson is optimistic and pragmatic. A biomedical engineering professor and co-director of Neural Engineering at the City College of New York, Bikson said it is clear that tDCS can change the brain. Many prospective users are unwilling to wait for lengthy human trials and related research before trying the technology.

“Among scientists who are incredulous or skeptical, the concern is often that we’re moving too fast,” Bikson said. But people who are suffering from depression, chronic pain and cognitive decline “have a different time scale,” he said. “They don’t have 10 years, and I don’t blame them for looking for alternatives.”

 

Shown equipment by Soterix Medical.

 

 

Brain-Hackers Vie to Enhance Human Performance

Wall Street Journal, Feb 24, 2017

By TOMIO GERON

Full article link

Abridged article:

Hacking software or network-connected devices is so 21st century. A new crop of forward-thinking entrepreneurs wants to hack the ultimate computer: the brain.

Enhancing or altering the brain with technology may sound like a concept for the cyborgs of science fiction, but Silicon Valley startups are already at it—with venture capitalists’ backing. A range of noninvasive wearable devices have hit the consumer market using electrical stimulation to sharpen physical and mental performance or to improve relaxation….

Interest in brain devices fits squarely within Silicon Valley’s ever-growing do-it-yourself biohacking and quantified-self movement, where people obsessively measure everything from their carbohydrate intake to mental acuity to sleep patterns. And the trend ties in with popular millennial pursuits like meditation, mindfulness and nontraditional remedies including nootropics.

In Silicon Valley, where tech executives are always seeking an edge, brain hackers have found a willing market for experimentation as a natural extension of that impulse.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Thync has raised about $23 million from Noosphere Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, according to PitchBook. The company says its $199 device can improve sleep and reduce stress. It second version, due out this spring, attaches to the back of the neck instead of the head….

Several startups’ devices rely on sending electric pulses into the brain, a process called tDCS that hasn’t been approved for medical use in the U.S. While that stimulation has been found safe in a laboratory environment, the benefits in consumer devices are unclear because of a lack of independent studies, according to Rachel Wurzman, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation….

Startup Halo Neuroscience’s headset aims to improve athletic performance. The device sends electric fields into the brain’s motor cortex, creating a state of “hyperplasticity” which, when combined with athletic training, helps the brain more quickly build circuitry to interact with muscles, improving technique and explosiveness, said co-founder and Chief Executive Daniel Chao.

Users wear the $749 device, which looks like a pair of headphones, for 20 minutes before a workout. The San Francisco company has raised $9 million from Lux Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Jazz Venture Partners, SoftTech VC and Xfund. Its athlete-endorsers include Demario Davis of the Cleveland Browns and T.J. Carrie of the Oakland Raiders.

Halo has focused on professional athletes but is targeting consumers who are performance athletes or enthusiasts, as opposed to casual athletes, said Mr. Chao, who previously worked at a medical-device startup that used electric stimulation to treat epilepsy….

While the use of brain stimulation is based on genuine science, it doesn’t necessarily back up marketing by consumer brands, said Marom Bikson, a professor of biomedical engineering at the City College of New York, who has done studies on Thync and co-founded medical-device startup Soterix Medical.

“There’s unquestionably scientific studies done in controlled environments that suggest that tDCS can change cognition and change how people think or can change learning,” Mr. Bikson said. “Some claims may be made by some companies that are maybe more advanced than where a lot of the scientists may be comfortable.”

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