Thursday, 13 June 2013

New Treatment for Depression and Schizophrenia-- tDCS

Please read  my article on tDCS...

Patients with Mental Disorders Now have
an Alternative to Electroshock Therapy!

Various neuropsychological disorders such as Schizophrenia, Depression, Alzheimer’s, Migraine, Parkinsonism etc have made it difficult for patients to lead a normal life and the number is only increasing by the day.

But there have also been many path breaking innovative treatments to have come to the rescue. One such innovative treatment in Neuropsychiatry is the Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation also known as tDCS.

What exactly is tDCS?
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive technique that is mainly used to modulate the brain function with the help of electric current and thus subsequently modifies human behavior. This treatment is pretty different than conventional Electroshock Therapy.

tDCS plays a crucial role in enhancing brain function and subsequently modifying human behavior.  It benefits in many disorders such as Schizophrenia, Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Alzheimer’s, Migraine, Parkinsonism etc. It is also pretty effective in reducing impulsivity and distractibility in persons with Attention Deficit Disorder.

In many countries, tDCS is used by healthy people with no mental disorder, to boost Verbal & Motor Skills, to enhance the Cognitive Skills like Learning, Memory and even General Functionality of their brains.

How does tDCS function?
During treatment a tDCS machine passes small electric current using non-metallic rubber electrodes with saline soaked sponges placed at desired areas on the head. The current passes through the scalp to modulate the brain function. In this the skin and the electrodes need to be prepared. The careful placement of electrodes is one of the crucial parts of tDCS. The duration of the change brought in by tDCS depends both on the length of stimulation and the intensity of stimulation.

How different is tDCS from Electroshock Therapy (ECT):

tDCS also does not require anesthesia unlike ECT and can be administered with a patient sitting in any comfortable chair at the Doctor’s clinic.

ECT uses electrical currents a thousand times greater than tDCS. Patients receiving tDCS generally report nothing more than a mild tingling or itchy feeling from under the electrode during the stimulation. These sensations also disappear immediately after the current is turned off.

tDCS only influences the area of the cortical brain directly beneath the electrode whereas ECT affects the functioning of the entire brain. The known side effects of ECT may include confusion or memory loss to some degree. tDCS has shown no such side effects and hence is a lot safer method of treatment.

The effects of tDCS remain active long after the stimulation has ended.

Dr Rohan Jahagirdar states, “Treatment using tDCS technique is safe, non-invasive, painless, easy to administer and also relatively inexpensive. We have got this technique here in Pune for the first time in a bid to help as many patients as we can to resume normal life as soon as possible.”

He adds “The basic treatment consists of a series of 15 consecutive Sessions of 15 minutes each. Sometimes a second series of sessions may be necessary to obtain maximum improvement in symptoms being treated.”

Dr Rohan Jahagirdar has undergone an extensive training in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Treatment at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS), Bangalore

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