Telemedicine used in MS neuromodulation study at NYU Langone, with positive results (US)

MS patients in a small NYU Langone Medical Center-led pilot of neuromodulation and cognitive training using telemedicine supervision experienced significant improvement in complex attention and reaction time. Non-invasive transcranial direct current brain stimulation (tDCS) was added to a previously tested cognitive training program for MS patients. Telemedicine (real-time video) was used to deliver the training, monitor patients in the program and provide follow-up support.

The study control was a cognitive training (CT)-only group. According to the abstract, “after ten sessions, the tDCS group (n = 25) compared to the CT only group (n = 20) had significantly greater improvement in complex attention (p = 0.01) and response variability (p = 0.01) composites. The groups did not differ in measures of basic attention (p = 0.95) or standard cognitive measures (p = 0.99).” These results corresponded to the stimulation area in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, according to the lead researcher Leigh Charvet, PhD.

The current used in the tDCS unit helps neurons fire more readily, versus making them fire. The tDCS unit used was likely provided by NYC-based Soterix Medical, a developer of neuromodulation systems used in clinical trials. One of the study authors, Abhishek Datta, PhD, is their CTO.

The research is also promising in helping to deliver therapy to MS patients at home, reducing the travel need on both sides, and to develop analytics to optimize medication. In future, the researchers hope to expand the study group to Parkinson’s disease patients. MedCityNews, Neuromodulation (the official journal of the International Neuromodulation Society; abstract only, full study requires additional access)

USAF researching brain stimulation for performance enhancement

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/TCDS.jpg” thumb_width=”100″ /]At the Air Force Research Lab, Applied Neuroscience Branch at Wright-Patterson AFB, researchers are testing transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) as a performance enhancer. We noted last August that DARPA was one of the lead research organizations on tDCS for mental illness and neurological problems [TTA 18 Aug 14]. AFRL is evaluating its effects on boosting cognition, memory and attention–all important factors when one is flying RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft, a/k/a drones) for multiple hours in front of a computer console. USAF RPA pilots (a/k/a Drone Drivers) now log three times as many flight hours as do pilots of real aircraft, which says volumes about priorities. Drone Drivers are also reporting combat fatigue and high levels of stress, so AFRL is also evaluating non-invasive ways of detection through pupil dilation and heart rate. Video (09:16)  USAF photo. Also Mosaic Science (Wellcome Trust)

More (much more) on tDCS brain stimulation research

Prepare to be shocked! Can brain enhancing techniques via  transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) be the future of performance enhancement? Will it be the future basis of recovery from some mental illnesses, stroke and other neurological diseases? It’s a hot research area, according to this Atlantic article. Researchers at DARPA, University of New Mexico, George Mason University, Stanford University, Oxford University, University of Göttingen and this Editor’s local City College of New York (CCNY) are hot on the trail. Four areas being investigated are (more…)