#068: Electrified Brains (Experimentation in tDCS)

March 18, 2015

In Episode #68, Jesse is joined by transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) veteran, Chris Zobrist.  Chris shares with us his extensive knowledge and personal experience with tDCS, and explains how you can get the most out of your own brain stimulation sessions.  Jesse weighs in with his first impressions and results, after conducting his inaugural tDCS sessions.

We’ll also hear about new drug-design attempting to mimic a zero-pain genetic mutation, and find out how you could make money and help science doing something you probably do quite often anyway.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:31

    Our off-format Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation episode

  • 00:01:32

    This Week In Neuroscience: New Painkillers To Be Patterned After Girl Who Doesn’t Feel Pain

  • 00:03:02

    It's International Brain Awareness Week!

  • 00:03:50

    Listener comment about ketosis, in response to Episode 66: Starvation And Its Benefits

  • 00:04:55

    Jesse opens up his new Focus Gamer tDCS Headset

  • 00:06:50

    First impressions on the session (and a warning to the appearance-conscious tDCS experimenters)

  • 00:09:09

    Jesse's before and after typing test results

  • 00:10:16

    Intro to Chris Zobrist and the book that spurred his interest in tDCS and (TMS): The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

  • 00:11:11

    Some tDCS devices Chris has used: the Focus Headset and the TCT TRanscranial Kit

  • 00:12:22

    Are there noticeable differences in results depending on which type of current is used?

  • 00:13:12

    How and why Chris uses tDCS

  • 00:14:52

    How does hair affect results?

  • 00:15:55

    Electrode placement using the 10-20 EEG system

  • 00:17:20

    What are tDCS's mechanisms of action?

  • 00:19:05

    When are the results most noticeable and how is tDCS best used?

  • 00:20:04

    How does tDCS interact with meditation?

  • 00:21:47

    How amp settings affect results

  • 00:22:57

    Off-scalp electrode placement

  • 00:23:56

    Chris' personal self-improvement experiments, and the connection between Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and tDCS

  • 00:26:06

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and its effect on neuron excitability

  • 00:27:40

    Off-the-shelf versus do-it-yourself tDCS

  • 00:29:03

    Speculation on the future of brain stimulation

  • 00:31:38

    Ruthless Listener-Retention Gimmick: You Can Sell Your Poop To Science For $13k Per Year


  1. Joe says:

    Just listened to this one after seeing these devices mentioned on TV.

    Are you still using yours and would you recommend it for getting a good chunk of writing done?


  2. Sammy says:

    As a (actual) scientist in the field of tDCS I have to say that some parts of this podcast are quite correct, but a large part simply is not. Also, all the effects that you experience are more likely to be a placebo effect. I have used tDCS in placebo-controlled randomized studies in hundreds of volunteers, yet none of them describes such strong effects as have been talked about here. Furthermore, in the lab carefully designed and tested medical devices are used, which have a clear advantage over the commercially available ones. TDCS is not ready (and may never be) for home us to boost your cognitive skills. It may have a future as an additional tool in clinical settings. But first and foremost tDCS is a science tool, that is used to better understand mechanisms of the brain.



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