Tuesday, 23 October 2012

TDCs for Calculus exam

I have deliberately taken a break from TDCs for over a month - I dont want to become dependent upon it or do any harm.

I have a calculus exam coming up November the 3rd however so will do 2-3 math protocol sessions prior to the exam.

Heck I may even do one the morning of the exam before I leave home - why not.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mental Imagery reinforcement with TDCS

I decided to pass up tinnitus self treatment with TDCS due to individual variability in the type and parameters of the tinnitus.

Mental imagery is far too valuable a skill to pass up. I will undertake my own in depth research on the psychophysiology of mental imagery & experiment with the protocols and neuroplasticity training required to develop an excellent imagination & sensory memory.

At present my  minds eye has moments of lucidity, some of wild streaming rapidity but generally a fog and clouded swirling mist.

I want my imagination & eidetic memory to be a lucid on demand tool at my command.

Some people achieve this rapidly with hypnosis, some slowly with meditation. A lucky few with artistic training.

I will document my research & experimentation here.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Further Working Memory training today

Its now over a month since my initial TDCs session. I have been distracted by academic studies. Today I will do the working memory protocol again and tomorrow the Math protocol. I still have not built the new device but would like to get that done next week.

I would also like to make a suitable DC bio current monitor. Many years ago there was a gentleman selling a German DC bio current monitor. It was perhaps 15 years ago & I have forgotten the brand name. It should be a relatively easy device to construct but I would like to code a JAVA PC interface also.

Monday, 13 August 2012

In the flow on working memory training today

Today I did another working memory N-Back training session. Definitely more in the flow than normal. Making less conscious effort to recall selections. Did have an issue with humidity & sweat causing an electrode to fall off at first.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Combining TDCs with fNIRS Hemoencephalography for Working Memory


Hemoencephalography is a form of biofeedback that employs fNIRS infra red LEDs to project light through the skull into the brain. The light is then reflected back to detectors & reveals the blood flow to the brain surface.







This is most commonly used on the prefrontal cortex where working memory is localized. Research reveals that the strength of links between the prefrontal cortex and other brain structures are an indicator of intelligence http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/24068.aspx

Control of thought and behavior is fundamental to human intelligence. Evidence suggests a frontoparietal brain network implements such cognitive control across diverse contexts. We identify a mechanism—global connectivity—by which components of this network might coordinate control of other networks. A lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) region's activity was found to predict performance in a high control demand working memory task and also to exhibit high global connectivity. Critically, global connectivity in this LPFC region, involving connections both within and outside the frontoparietal network, showed a highly selective relationship with individual differences in fluid intelligence. These findings suggest LPFC is a global hub with a brainwide influence that facilitates the ability to implement control processes central to human intelligence.

As HEG is non electrical and even less invasive than TDCs there is no interference between the two modalities if used at the same time.

By combining HEG biofeedback and TDCs one should be able to generate a more significant progression with working memory training. Both Working Memory and prefrontal cortex biofeedback are linked to cognitive enhancement and increases in IQ.

HEG devices are very easy to construct simply consisting of an array of infra red LEDs with the correct bandwidth to be responsive to blood cells. The software is more challenging for non programmers but I am a JAVA developer & electronics engineer so I am comfortable with the project.






From the image above you can see the fNIRS device consists of an array of several LEDs and sensors.
The data is processed and interfaced with biofeedback software.

Software sources are listed here: http://www.fnirs.org/software.html

Last year I researched fNIRS and found a site showing how to make a device in some detail especially how to make the head set from silicone, sensors & LED's. Unfortunately a search of my HDD has failed to come up with the link. Really such a device is easy to construct with optical fibres running to the the signal processing box .http://felixchenier.com/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=research:pdf:a_new_brain_imaging_device_based_on_fnirs.pdf Discusses some of the hardware.

As a final observation if we look at the Drexel page outling areas of fNIRS research http://www.biomed.drexel.edu/fnir/CONQUER/fNIR_Research.html we can see that there is a strong overlap with TDCs research of most interest math ability and general cognitive enhancement.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Principles of Memory & Neuroplasticity



1.  "Interest" – In order to remember something thoroughly, you must be interested in it. You must
have a reason to learn it. Seek ways to make it personal.

2. "Intent to Remember"  – has much to do with whether or not you remember something. A
key factor to remembering is having a positive attitude that you will remember. Take notes.
Predict test questions. Use a concentration checklist; every time your mind wanders, put a check
on this sheet. Eventually, you will program your mind to pay attention.

3. "Basic Background"( – Your understanding of new material depends, to a great degree, on
how much you already know about the subject. The more you increase your basic knowledge, the
easier it is to build new knowledge on this background. Before reading an assignment, preview it.
Try to recall what you already know.

4. "Selectivity"– You must determine what is most important, and select those parts to study and
learn. You cannot remember everything about everything. Look for verbal and non-verbal clues
during lecture. Make flashcards. Devise sample tests.

5. "Meaningful Organization" – You can learn and remember better if you group ideas into
meaningful categories. Search for ways to organize information into categories that are
meaningful to you. Alphabetize a list. Use a variety of mnemonic devices.

6. "Recitation" – Saying ideas aloud in your own words is one of the most powerful tools you
have to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory. When you finish reading a
paragraph/section in a textbook, stop and recite.

7. "Mental Visualization" – Another powerful memory principle is making a mental picture of
what needs to be remembered. By visualizing, you use an entirely different part of the brain than
you do when reading or listening.


8. "Association" – Memory is increased when facts to be learned are associated with something
familiar to you. By recalling something you already know and making a link to the "brain file"
that contains that information, you should be able to remember new information more efficiently.

9. "Consolidation" – Your brain must have time for new information to soak in. Take notes and
review them. Ask questions. Make flashcards. Make practice tests.

10."Distributed Practise"– A series of shorter study sessions distributed over several days is
preferable to fewer, but longer study sessions. After each hour of study, take a 10-minute break.
Have a scheduled time to study each subject. Make use of daylight hours and time you usually
waste. Study immediately before and after class. Review. Review. Review!

"Don't forget the curve of forgetting"

12 more principles of memory:

Selectivity
Association
Visualization
Elaboration
Concentration
Recitation
Intention
Big & Little pictures
Feedback
Organization
Time on Task
Ongoing Review

Four More:

Practice Retrieval
Process Material Actively
Use Distributed Practise
Use Metamemory

Specifics: Eidetics, Mnemonics, Chunking, Linking, Synaesthesia


Neuroplasticity

• Synaptic connections are continually being modified (re-organisation of
circuitry)
– In response to demand – learning, memory, disuse
– After damage to the CNS
– LTP: alteration of the structure of the synapse

• Cellular level
– Increased sensitivity to neural transmitters
– Increase number and branches of dendrites
– Increase and strengthening of synaptic connections (Hebbe)
– Axon sprouting


Cortical maps – ‘use it or lose it’



"CONSTRAINT & REINFORCEMENT"

By constraining an appropriate behaviour and reinforcing another the underlying brain structure will modify its neural function to perform the reinforced task & not the constrained one.

i. The Effect of Use on Neural Substrates 

The first principle of neuroplasticity is that if a neural substrate is not biologically active, it will degrade in function.

ii. Usage Improves Function

This principle, an extension of the first, states that with increased biological activity, future functioning can be enhanced.

iii. Plasticity is Experience Specific

This principle suggests that changes in neural function with practice may be limited to the specific function being trained.

iv. Repetition of Training

This principle states that changes in neural substrates will occur only as a result of extensive and prolonged practice and that neural changes may not become consolidated until later in the training process.

v. Intensity of Training

The principle that training must be continuous over long periods to induce neural change.

vi. The Time of Training Onset

This principle states that different forms of neural plasticity may occur at various times in response to treatment.

vii. Salience of Training

The principle that training must be sufficiently salient to induce plasticity may be of considerable importance to speech. That is, simple repetitive movements or strength training may not enhance skilled movement and may have less potential for inducing changes in neural function underlying voice and speech production for communication. 

viii. Age Effects on Training

Although neural plasticity can occur over the entire lifespan, it is well recognized that training and environmentally induced plasticity occur more readily in younger than in older nervous systems.
(See Ergogenics below)

ix. Transference

The principle of transference states that plasticity following training in one function may enhance related behaviors and has been studied both in animals and human rehabilitation.

x. Interference

The interference principle is that plasticity can cause changes in neural function, which may interfere with behaviors or skills.
Neuroplasticity Ergogenics:
Hormonal factors NGF, IGF
TDCs
Amino Acids

Personal Observation: Somnabulistic Hypnosis & dreaming prove that neuroplasticity can in fact be practically instantaneous. Age related factors are largely determined by alterable physiological parameters such as growth factors, circulation & neurotransmitter levels.

Monday, 6 August 2012

TDCs Visualization Training

I have had a break from TDCs for a few days. My next protocol to try will be for the visual system - in particular visualisation in the minds eye & eidetic memory. I am an artist and have very vivid visual imagery if uncontrolled quite often. I also have flashes of eidetic memory.


Eidetic memory is not some genetic gift of savants as the western media portrays it. In Japan children are trained in Eidetic memorisation methods at special schools. 


In Germany advanced Autogenic Therapy trains the minds eye to visualise with extreme precision & clarity. Most of the schools of meditation also train visualisation. Deep trance Hypnosis can induce vivid sensory experiences in a post trance.


What's more every night you enter the realm of an inner perceptual environment when dreaming.


So essentially we have been trained "not" to have an imagination, which is kind of like being trained not to walk. Human culture is an odd thing.


In France in the last century there was a famous art teacher Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, he trained Rodin and dozens of famous French artists.


His method was based upon drawing, and painting from memory. All pupils were forbidden from using direct vision or any physical likeness to reproduce a subject. After the initial visual familiarisation it had to be done entirely from memory.


The interesting point is that all of his pupils developed Eidetic Memory within six month of gruelling training. Not just memory but a vivid imagination also.


Now today this is largely neglected by the lazy masses thanks to TV & camera's. So without the proper mental stimulation we lose our inner world.


Neuroscientists have discovered that the principle behind the phenomena is neuroplasticity. The very basis of TDCs. 


De Boisbaudran, by forbidding the use of physical props or scenes was "constraining" that part of the nervous system. The brain adapted by reinforcing the neurons and brain centres that are the basis of visualisation. After a period of intense training the students brains adapted to the extent that they had Eidetic Memory & a fully functioning imagination.


Eventually I would like to train my self to do the same. In a day or two I will try TDCs to stimulate visual memory and imagery.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Effective TDCs Tinnitus Protocols Undefined

I am still researching appropriate electrode placements for tinnitus treatment. I am not going to risk placing them in the wrong area so this may take some time. 


Both hemispheres of the Dorso Lateral Prefrontal Cortex are commonly treated but this is a relatively large surface area. 


From:http://www.tinnitusresearch.org/en/patients/newintinnitusresearch_en.php







Many different functional and structural imaging techniques have been used to identify structures in the central nervous system which are believed to play an important role in the pathophysiology of many forms of tinnitus.

The neuroimaging methods functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) enable to measure regional changes of cerebral blood flow, which in turn is an indirect measurement of neuronal activity. Electro- (EEG) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) measure neuronal activity directly. Alterations in the central auditory pathways in tinnitus patients have been shown already 15 years ago. However it has been only very recently that neuroimaging studies have systematically been used to differentiate the different forms of tinnitus (unilateral versus bilateral, pure tone versus noise like, with more and less distress, with shorter and longer duration) (Schecklmann et al. 2011;Vanneste, Van de Heyning, & De Ridder 2011a;Vanneste, Van de Heyning, & De Ridder 2011b). It has been demonstrated that all these forms differ in their brain activity pattern, especially in non-auditory brain areas. Also for the first time brain activity changes related to acute tinnitus after noise trauma have been studied (Ortmann et al. 2011) and it has been found that these differ substantially from those in chronic tinnitus.EEG and MEG have revealed consistent results across many studies in the sense that in tinnitus the normal activity pattern in the auditory cortex is changed. In the auditory cortex of tinnitus patients alpha activity is reduced, whereas delta and gamma activity is increased. Successful treatment reverses these abnormalities, indicating that they represent the neuronal correlate of tinnitus loudness. Syst Neurosci. 2012;6:15. Epub 2012 Apr 9. Neuroimaging and neuromodulation: complementary approaches for identifying the neuronal correlates of tinnitus. "...In conclusion, these preliminary studies indicate that both anodal stimulation of the left auditory cortex and bifrontal tDCS with the cathode left and the anode right can have beneficial effects on tinnitus in some individuals. The interindividual variability of treatment effects is high in all studies, suggesting that there may be pathophysiologically distinct forms of tinnitus that respond particularly well to different tDCS protocols (Vanneste et al.,

2011c).
In order to unravel the mechanism by which tDCS suppresses tinnitus EEG
measurements were performed before and after single sessions of bifrontal tDCS
in 12 patients who responded to tDCS. Reduction of tinnitus intensity and
tinnitus-related distress was related to modulation of neuronal activity in
pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, parahippocampal area, and right primary
auditory cortex regions (Vanneste et al., 2011a). These findings are comparable
to those obtained in healthy controls after a similar tDCS intervention (anode
positioned over the left DLPFC and the cathode over the right supraorbital
region), that revealed a tDCS induced modulation of regional electrical activity
in the left subgenual prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex and the
left parahippocampus (Keeser et al., 2011b) and significant changes of regional
brain connectivity both for the default mode network and the fronto-parietal
network (Keeser et al., 2011a)."




Neuroanatomical correlates of tinnitus revealed by cortical thickness analysis and 
diffusion tensor imaging.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Tinnitus is a poorly understood auditory perception of sound in
the absence of external stimuli. Convergent evidence proposes that tinnitus
perception involves brain structural alterations as part of its pathophysiology.
The aim of this study is to investigate the structural brain changes that might
be associated with tinnitus-related stress and negative emotions.


METHODS: Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor
imaging, we investigated grey matter and white matter (WM) alterations by
estimating cortical thickness measures, fractional anisotropy and mean
diffusivity in 14 tinnitus subjects and 14 age- and sex-matched non-tinnitus
subjects.

RESULTS: Significant cortical thickness reductions were found in the prefrontal
cortex (PFC), temporal lobe and limbic system in tinnitus subjects compared to
non-tinnitus subjects. Tinnitus sufferers were found to have disrupted WM
integrity in tracts involving connectivity of the PFC, temporal lobe, thalamus
and limbic system.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that such neural changes may represent neural
origins for tinnitus or consequences of tinnitus and its associations.
Neuroanatomical correlates of tinnitus revealed by cortical thickness analysis
and diffusion tensor imaging.
Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Tinnitus is a poorly understood auditory perception of sound in
the absence of external stimuli. Convergent evidence proposes that tinnitus
perception involves brain structural alterations as part of its pathophysiology.
The aim of this study is to investigate the structural brain changes that might
be associated with tinnitus-related stress and negative emotions.
METHODS: Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor
imaging, we investigated grey matter and white matter (WM) alterations by
estimating cortical thickness measures, fractional anisotropy and mean

diffusivity in 14 tinnitus subjects and 14 age- and sex-matched non-tinnitus
subjects.
RESULTS: Significant cortical thickness reductions were found in the prefrontal
cortex (PFC), temporal lobe and limbic system in tinnitus subjects compared to
non-tinnitus subjects. Tinnitus sufferers were found to have disrupted WM
integrity in tracts involving connectivity of the PFC, temporal lobe, thalamus
and limbic system.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that such neural changes may represent neural
origins for tinnitus or consequences of tinnitus and its associations.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/d67t81vx500870l2/

Some research:http://proceedings.ebea2011.org/modules/request205f.pdf?module=oc_program&action=view.php&id=5178


Bifrontal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), with the anodal electrode overlying the right and the cathodal electrode overlying the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, has been shown to suppress tinnitus significantly in 30% of patients.



So there are various types of tinnitus with different neurological correlates. On top of this there are individual brain structures and neural layouts. At present the research is ongoing and a partial reduction of symptoms in 30% of subjects is not sufficient for me to undertake TDCs for Tinnitus as of this time.



Saturday, 28 July 2012

Kewl new TDCs device plans

I have the most basic device - 2 resistors, a regulator & a battery. But http://www.diytdcs.com/ has discovered a nice little circuit with ramping (via a potentiometer) and an analog meter.


I would prefer auto ramping with on/off and a digital meter but for now I will build this new circuit.




I will build this as an intermediate device until I design a proper digital one with a micro controller.

Anti Humour - Killed by a 9 volt Battery

From: http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1999-50.html

Resistance is Futile

(1999) A US Navy safety publication describes injuries incurred while doing don't's. One page described the fate of a sailor playing with a multimeter in an unauthorized manner. He was curious about the resistance level of the human body. He had a Simpson 260 multimeter, a small unit powered by a 9-volt battery. That may not seem powerful enough to be dangerous… but it can be deadly in the wrong hands.

The sailor took a probe in each hand to measure his bodily resistance from thumb to thumb. But the probes had sharp tips, and in his excitement he pressed his thumbs hard enough against the probes to break the skin. Once the salty conducting fluid known as blood was available, the current from the multimeter travelled right across the sailor's heart, disrupting the electrical regulation of his heartbeat. He died before he could record his Ohms.
The lesson? The Navy issues very few objects which are designed to be stuck into the human body.

August 2000 Dan Wilson elaborates:

I'm a former Navy petty officer, enlisted for six years as an electrician aboard a US Submarine. I got a lot of training. This story was used frequently during my training in the US Navy as an example of what can happen when procedures and safety measures are not followed. I considered the story an urban legend until I found the incident report referenced in the official Navy electrical safety guidelines. I now know it is true.
The actual event is slightly different than described above, and even more deserving of a Darwin award. This sailor stuck the sharpened ends of the probes through his thumbs intentionally. You see, he had just taken a course that taught a critical concept called "internal resistance."

Internal resistance is resistance to electrical power flow that exists inside any power source. It causes the terminal voltage to drop when load (current) increases. You can demonstrate this concept, if you're careful, by monitoring your car battery's terminal voltage, while someone starts up the engine. The reading will be ~13 volts while the engine is off, but during the period where the starter is cranking it will drop to 8-9 volts. The voltage drop is due to the internal resistance of the battery.

This sailor, like all other electricians in training, had already been through a safety class in which one of the excercises is to measure your body's resistance by simply holding the probes between your fingertips. (Most people read 500Kohms to 2Mohms.) Evidently, adding information from the internal resistance class, this sailor wanted to determine his own body's "internal resistance.". So he intentionally pushed the sharpened probe tips through the skin to elimate the rather high skin resistance and get only the "internal resistance". This, of course, caused his death.

How, you might ask, with only a 9V battery? Easy. One of the "rules of thumb" that the Navy teaches is the 1-10-100 rule of current. This rule states that 1mA of current through the human body can be felt, 10mA of current is sufficient to make muscles contract to the point where you cannot let go of a power source, and 100mA is sufficient to stop the heart. Let's look at Ohm's law. Ohm's law (for DC systems - I will not discuss AC here) is written as E=IR, where E is voltage in volts, I is current in Amps, and R is resistance in Ohms.

When we did the experiment in the electrical safety class to determine our body's resistance, we found a resistance of 500K Ohms. Using 9V and 500K Ohms in the equation, we come up with a current of 18 microAmps, below the "feel" threshold of 1mA. However, removing the insulation of skin from our curious sailor here, the resistance through the very good conducting electrolytes of the body is sharply lower. Around 100 ohms, in fact, resulting in a current of 90mA - sufficient to stop our sailor's heart and kill him.

As my electrical safety instructor said, "The reason we now have to teach the electrical safety course to all electricians at least twice per year is because some joe was bright enough to be the one person in the world who could figure out how to kill himself with a 9V battery."

Friday, 27 July 2012

Day 7 TDCs Maths Protocol

I just finished the 7th day math reinforcement. So this was my 3rd math training hooked to the electrodes. The session went well with no electrode problems or sensitivity.

I will do the tinnitus session in a day or two.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cautious Opinion on TDCs

I do not wish to be seen to be encouraging people with no scientific background to perform unsafe experimentation so I am including a link to a cautious blog post below. Despite this many FDA approved CES devices are available to the general public. 


So while this post is clearly discouraging I am including it as a matter of caution rather than vitriol. Personally I think TDCs is safe enough to do at home. But you must have some back ground knowledge.


http://blog.zocdoc.com/can-electrical-stimulation-tdcs-enhance-your-brain-performance-fact-vs-myth/


 While the acute effects of tDCS only last about 75 percent of the time of application (e.g. If you stimulate for 20 minutes, the effects will last only about 15 minutes after the current is removed), any enhanced learning that is achieved during the session could potentially last months, just as learning a task without stimulation would. The difference is that you can potentially acquire that new task (i.e. learn) faster, and better.
For this reason, the task you choose is just as important as the tDCS current. Without a learning task, little is likely to be achieved with electrical stimulation. Similarly, the stimulation has to be in the area of the brain that is performing the task. Stimulation in the wrong part of the brain would have no effect or could potentially impair the task, if you happen to stimulate in an area that negatively regulates the area being used.
Safety is another concern. Most of the studies to date have suggested that tDCS is safe at least in a laboratory setting and for short-term use. The few reported side effects such as itching and headache appear to be mild. However, the safety has not been assessed very rigorously, and the results of long-term and repeated use are unknown. Though the effective voltage used in most of the studies is only around two milliamps, caution must be used to ensure that higher voltages are not accidentally applied.
Needless to say, tDCS should never be tried at home because of these potential risks. Scientists using tDCS in a laboratory setting have the expertise and high-quality equipment to assure the safety of their participants. They also have equipment like EEG and MRI that can help them localize the appropriate brain region for stimulation, as well as the training to understand how and when tDCS could be safe and effective. If you’re curious about tDCS your best bet is to find a local university that studies tDCS and volunteer for an experiment.
I don't encourage Joe Blogg's to read my blog and stick a battery onto his drunk mates head. 

I know enough about Electronics & Neuroscience to do this experiment. I would not ever experiment with neuro magnetics. At 1-2mA I feel its reasonably safe taking the large amount of research data into account. I am also limiting my exposure to the procedure to only four initial sessions per protocol. If I feel its worth it at the end of my foray I may do more sessions.

The good news is this - You are regulating an electrical parameter of your nervous system, the current between certain parts of the brain. So the same protocols can be used for BIOFEEDBACK.

Biofeedback eliminates any risk from the application of electricity. By studying and experimenting with TDCs for some time I hope to progress to using a suitably amplified & isolated Ammeter to regulate the protocols by a more natural & safe means. I certainly do not intend to do TDCs for an extended period of time.


So let me spell it out : I have studied Electronics & Neuroscience for many years - that is why I feel comfortable performing these experiments at home. Also my ultimate objective is to develop biofeedback protocols that are more effective & less invasive than TDCs.


I do not intend to use TDCs for an extended period of time. Maybe for a few months at the most.


Also clearly there are various cognitive trainings that can be taken advantage of while applying TDCs, such as speed reading & photo reading, eidetic training, mental calculation, artistic visualisation and so on. I am interested to see the improvement that TDCs offers in these area's.


I also want to add with respect to the post excerpt above from the other persons blog. 


The objective with TDCs - as with working memory training is "Cognitive Enhancement". 
This does not refer to the short term affect during or immediately after the training. It refers to the training of actual cognitive neurological patterns. 


These patterns are reinforced during TDCs and are long term or permanent. The learning of these patterns does not wear off in 20 minutes. This is why I am using the "curve of forgetting". Neurological patterns can be reinforced permanently or with infrequent retraining if it is done correctly. This is also why Biofeedback is probably a superior approach once an intitial familarization has been established with TDCs.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Session 5 - Further electrode problems above right eye

This was my seventh day reinforcement of the "working memory" protocol. Again I had an issue with the electrode above my right eye. This nerve is sensitive because of a dental abscess in my right upper molar.

Again I could feel a mild but sharp pain in the nerve and see a white flash in my right eye. I removed the electrode and placed a new one slightly to the left by a few mm which resolved the problem.

This time it also happened immediately when I started the device which strongly suggests I need to build a better circuit with current ramping to avoid any micro trauma to the nerves involved.

I will look into that.

So this was an initial distraction. Apart from that the session seemed to go OK. I have seemed to notice an improvement in my cognition over all during the last couple of days but perhaps it is placebo.

Here are photos of the electrode placement...




Tinnitus Protocol will be my Next Experiment

I have had Tinnitus since I was 15. Its really very annoying and of course very easy for me to judge subjectively as I can hear it. I will know unequivocally if TDCs has worked or not in this case.


Unfortunately TDCs does not offer a 100% cure for tinnitus.


I need to spend 2-3 days studying the research papers before I decide upon the electrode placements.


Also thanks to http://www.diytdcs.com for linking to this blog. They have quite a good blog with general information on TDCs. You also will come across www.mindalive.com who sell light and sound devices and have many links to research on TDCs.


You may also come across the goflow device - seriously do you need to shell out $100 when a TDCs device has two resistors and a regulator ?


If you really must buy a device you may as well go the whole hog and get a medical device.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Fourth Session Complete

Did the fourth session & second math session this evening. Nothing to report subjectively. Right electrode site stung a little after fresh scalp shave.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Subjective Observations After Three Sessions



 I will need to do 10 - 20 different protocols over an extended period of time - maybe 4x each or more. I am using the curve of forgetting so I do 2 consecutive days then 7 days and a month later per protocol.
I would expect this to give a noticeable result. Doing a couple of protocols once or twice wont achieve much.
So far I have done 2 working memory sessions and a maths session. 
Today I feel that something has perhaps changed. An event happened that would normally make me very stressed & angry. But it didn't. I remained calm and thoughtful. Rather than worrying I calmly considered my options without negative emotion.
Was this linked to the TDCs ? I don't know but it was not how I would normally respond to the event.

TDCs Circuit Breadboards

The pictures speak for them selves - there is very little to the circuit.



My First TDCs Math Session

I used the online vedic maths software. Prior to the session I shaved my head & fresh disposable ECG electrodes were used on P3 & P4




I did the session for 20 minutes and will repeat tomorrow. There was a mild tingling at the begining. I have not done extensive training with the Vedic Maths software yet so I have no subjective opinion on the experience.

My electrode placements were approximated from illustrations.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The TDCs Math Protocol

The electrode placements for the math protocol are illustrated in a previous post. For this protocol I will be using Vedic Math software.
Vedic Math is a very detailed Indian system of mental calculation. A wonderful skill if you are interested in mathematics. I will be doing basic arithmetic problems initially but with vedic math that means adding very substantial figures rapidly in ones mind.


I will brush up on my technique first then perform the TDCs protocol for 20 minutes.
For this session I will shave my head - which is largely bald anyway.
There are many sources for Vedic Math software and I did an extensive search some time ago. 


A Mental Math trainer you can download is available here http://www.jimmyr.com/blog/Speed_Math_Trainer_Program_126_2006.php


There are other superior applications also but the above will suffice for most people initially.
I dont recommend you do this using normal math techniques - its a waste of time. Best to take advantage of the TDCs to learn advanced mental arithmetic methods.


A better online trainer that is specifically for Vedic Techniques:
http://mastermindvedicmaths.com/vedic.php?pro=2


Once you get a taste for mental calculation it becomes very rewarding.

Electrode effects on second session

An interesting session tonight - first up it seems to work. My N-Back score while not out of the ball park is much easier and faster to progress. There is no doubt of that.  I don't know if its placebo. Plenty of other people have done studies that prove it is not.


What was interesting tonight is the electrodes. I am bald on the front and have very short hair so I wont need foam electrodes - I am using disposable ECG electrodes.


Tonight I shaved the fine hair from the left hemisphere electrode position.  As soon as I switched the device on there was a mild tingly sting at the electrode site.


I was stingy and used one of yesterdays electrodes for the position above my right eye. It had a tiny tear and part way through the session I felt my nerve above my eye in the forehead. At the same time there was a white flash in my right eye. This happened several times and I removed the old electrode and replaced it with a new one.


No harm done but very interesting. I will use fresh electrodes and shave the sites for every session now.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

My first TDCs session went fine


My first session went fine - I did the working memory protocol
Subjectively it worked initially very well but them my WM session went to custard
I used the N-Back software off sourceforge Brain Workshop
Really the second half went like a normal session - at first I stomped through 4 levels though - easier than normal.
What was different and important ...
I am an artist and can have a very lucid imagination - well all night I could not sleep - I had 3D images flashing through my mind all night - It actually becomes a pain in the ass if they are not of stuff you want to see but its always a buzz to have vivid visualizations.
So I will do the Working memory session again tonight - tomorrow I will do maths.
I am using the curve of forgetting to determine reinforcement dates.
After that I will try visual stimulation & tinnitus protocols



Monday, 16 July 2012

Curve of Forgetting to Reinforce Conditioning



The Curve of Forgetting describes how we retain or forget information that we learn/memorize. This example is based on memorizing that occurs during a one-hour lecture.



On day one, at the beginning of the lecture, you go in knowing nothing, or 0%, (where the curve starts at the baseline). At the end of the lecture you know 100% of what you know, however well you know it (where the curve rises to its highest point).
By Day 2, if you have done nothing with the information you learned in that lecture, didn't think about it again, read it again, etc. you will have lost 50%-80% of what you learned. Our brains are constantly recording information on a temporary basis: scraps of conversation heard on the sidewalk, what the person in front of you is wearing. Because the information isn't necessary, and it doesn't come up again, our brains dump it all off, along with what was learned in the lecture that you actually do want to hold on to!
By Day 7, we remember even less, and by Day 30, we retain about 2%-3% of the original hour! This nicely coincides with midterm exams, and may account for feeling as if you've never seen this before in your life when you're studying for exams - you may need to actually re-learn it from scratch.
You can change the shape of the curve! A big signal to your brain to hold onto a specific chunk of information is if that information comes up again. When the same thing is repeated, your brain says, "Oh-there it is again, I better keep that." When you are exposed to the same information repeatedly, it takes less and less time to "activate" the information in your long term memory and it becomes easier for you to retrieve the information when you need it.
Here's the formula, and the case for making time to review material: Within 24 hours of getting the information - spend 10 minutes reviewing and you will raise the curve almost to 100% again. A week later (Day 7), it only takes 5 minutes to "reactivate" the same material, and again raise the curve. By Day 30, your brain will only need 2-4 minutes to give you the feedback, "Yup, I know that. Got it."
Often students feel they can't possibly make time for a review session every day in their schedules - they have trouble keeping up as it is. However, this review is an excellent investment of time. If you don't review, you will need to spend 40-50 minutes re-learning each hour of material later - do you have that kind of time? Cramming rarely plants the information in your long term memory where you want it and can access it to do assignments during the term as well as be ready for exams.
Depending on the course load, the general recommendation is to spend half an hour or so every weekday, and 1½ to 2 hours every weekend in review activity. Perhaps you only have time to review 4 or 5 days of the week, and the curve stays at about the mid range. That's OK, it's a lot better than the 2%-3% you would have retained if you hadn't reviewed at all.
Many students are amazed at the difference reviewing regularly makes in how much they understand and how well they understand and retain material. It's worth experimenting for a couple weeks, just to see what difference it makes to you!

TDCs electrode positioning


Anode Electrode PositioningCathode Electrode PositioningObservationsCaveats
Primary Motor cortex (M1)Supra-OrbitalThis is the most used montage. It has been proven that the cortical excitability can be changed up to 40%6 (Figure 6). Anodal stimulation results in neuronal depolarisation and increasing neuronal excitability while cathodal stimulation has opposite results6.Only one motor cortex is stimulated – might be a problem for bilateral pain syndromes. Also the confounding effect of the supra-orbital electrode needs to be considered.
Primary Motor cortex (M1)Primary Motor cortex- Interesting approach when there is a bi-hemispheric imbalance between motor cortices (such as in stroke)
- Can be used with two anodal stimulation electrodes (see sixth row), where cathodal electrode is placed in the supraorbital area for instance.
Electrodes might be too close to each other- issue of shunting.
A decrease of the area of the electrodes will increase the degree of shunting along the skin 19
Therefore shunting might be related not only to electrode positioning but also to electrode size.
The relative resistance of the tissues is dependent upon the electrode position and size- the overall resistance on which the current flows is dependent upon the electrode properties19.
Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC)Supra-OrbitalMost used for DLPFC stimulation – positive results for treatment of depression20 and also chronic pain3.Only unilateral DLPFC stimulation situation is possible with this montage.
Dorsolateral Prefrontal CortexDorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex- Interesting approach when there is a bi-hemispheric imbalance.
- Can be used for a two anodal stimulation situation (see sixth row), where cathodal electrode is placed in the supraorbital area for instance.
Electrodes might be too close to each other- issue of shunting 19. (Please see second row, fourth column).
OccipitalVertexInteresting active control for chronic pain trials or for modulation of visual cortex.When used as active control, reference electrodes are placed in different locations- problem of comparability between intra- and inter- experimental approaches.
Two anodal electrodes, e.g. both Motor corticesSupra-OrbitalSimultaneous change in cortical excitabilityTranscallosal inhibition might add a confounding factor21
One electrode over a cortical target, e.g. Primary Motor cortex (M1)Extra-CranialAvoid the confounding effect of two electrodes with opposite polarities in the brain7.Depending on intended target, current distribution might not be optimal and therefore induce ineffective stimulation22

Table 2. Electrode Positioning

Images Of Several Protocol Placements:





Demonstration of 4 typical electrode locations on the skull surface when using tDCS. The four figures illustrate the typical placement of anode and cathode during stimulation of the primary motor cortex (A), somatosensory cortex (B), primary visual cortex (C), anterior language cortex (D). Note that in (C) one electrode is placed at the back of the head (see small image of the head), while the other electrode is placed at the right supra-orbital area. One electrode is placed on the area of the skull covering the target structure and the other electrode is typically placed either over the supraorbital area of the other hemisphere or over the corresponding area of the contralateral hemisphere. Note, that other stimulation positions have been used as well .
Figure d is that used for "Working Memory" enhancement. The Anode is placed on the Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the left hisphere, the cathode on the supra orbital above the right eye.