Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS)
tDCS is a completely painless neuromodulation therapy that is particularly suitable for children because of the high degree of freedom of movement it allows, used in numerous treatment and rehabilitation settings.
Description and principles of action
The acronym "tDCS" stands for "Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation," a neuromodulation therapy particularly suitable for children, who can start the treatment as early as the first year of life.
The procedure is completely painless and should not be confused with electroconvulsive therapy, from which it differs profoundly.
The tDCS allows the therapist to stimulate or inhibit the neuronal activity of specific brain areas.
Electrodes are applied to the head, delivering a direct current of low intensity (completely painless for the subject), which will influence neuronal functions. The electrodes are placed in contact with the scalp at the areas of the brain to be stimulated and act by increasing or decreasing the excitability of the nerve cells, based on the type of current used.
The current starts from the positive pole (anode), passes through the scalp and the skull, reaches the cerebral cortex, and then exits through the negative pole (cathode): generally, the anodic current increases the excitability while the cathodic one decreases it.
Thanks to its manageability and low invasiveness, the field of application of tDCS has expanded: convincing results have been observed in the treatment of Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Substance Addictions, Behavioral Addictions, Eating Disorders and Obesity, ADHD and Language Disorders. Moreover, the tDCS is also effectively employed in the context of Cognitive Rehabilitation.
The method was developed about fifteen years ago, and recent studies have confirmed its safety and tolerability.
A tDCS session lasts about 20 to 30 minutes and an initial cycle has a duration of 3 weeks.