Category Archives: Psychopathology

CES and functional MRI

Currently, one tool investigators use to determine both underlying psychopathology as well as potential mechanisms of action of various treatments involves functional MRI (fMRI). It was my (Jason Worchel, M.D.) goal to apply this type of investigation to CES. With the assistance of Neal Rudtledge, MD, a neuroradiologist in Austin, Texas, we explored the safety of using CES in a fMRI environment. Using 30 foot leads, we attached a CES unit to a phantom head within a MRI. There were no noted adverse effects to the equipment or other unusual phenomenon noted. Subsequently, I used CES on myself while undergoing a fMRI study. There were no adverse events experienced with either the equipment or to me. Though we did not have the resources to conduct a full scale research study; i.e. design a specified protocol to ascertain specific effects and provide for blinding or placebo intervention, the process did confirm that fMRI appears to be a safe modality for the study of CES.

Excerpts from “A View from the Trenches” written by Jason Worchel, M.D.

More CES Research –

Transcranial Electrical Stimulation for Gamers?

Can Transcranial Electrical Stimulation improve your gamer’s ability?

Transcranial simply means that the direct current (i.e. from a battery rather than the AC mains) is passed across a region of your brain. The direct current passes between the cathode and anode, which are placed over your prefrontal cortex. Basically, by pumping electrons into your brain, your neurons, which communicate via spikes of electricity, become more excitable. This means that they can fire more quickly, improving your reaction time. Furthermore, when you remove the current, your neurons are imbued with additional neuroplasticity — in other words, they more readily make new connections, improving your ability to learn new skills.

If the gains from Transcranial Electrical Stimulation really are as amazing as these early reports suggest, there could be some serious ethical considerations if it becomes widespread. Should students be allowed to use Transcranial Electrical Stimulation to improve their studies or to pass exams? What about professional e-sports gamers? Who Knows. Maybe it’s our future.