Cognitive/Neuroscience Research

TDCS/Working Memory

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) non-invasively delivers small amounts of direct current to the brain. This polarizes the brain and alters the firing rates of neurons, either facilitating or inhibiting function depending upon the direction of the current. Recent studies show that tDCS can enhance verbal fluency, word recall, and perhaps even recovery of function following stroke. It was shown that surface-anodal polarization of the left prefrontal area increased verbal fluency in normal controls. The device is cheap, portable, FDA-approved for another application, and operates on a battery. The procedure is painless and significant side effects have not been identified. The potential uses of tDCS in psychiatry and neurology are at the very early stages of exploration. This is a study in normal volunteers contrasting real tDCS versus sham in its effects on working memory and verbal fluency. This study will lay the groundwork for future studies of the potential impact of tDCS on memory. Peter Bulow



New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew York-PresbyterianThe Brain Stimulation & Therapeutic Modulation (BSTM) Division specializes in the use of emerging electromagnetic means of modulation brain function to study and treat psychiatric disorders. Columbia University Medical CenterDivision of Brain Stimulation & Therapeutic Modulation Home