Neuromodulation studies for the US military, an up-and-coming technique with many applications.

Neuromodulation studies for the US military, an up-and-coming technique with many applications.

Neuromodulation techniques have grown in popularity considerably over the last couple of decades. One of the most popular techniques, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a method that utilizes small electrical currents to induce an increase or decrease in synaptic activity has been applied to varying areas of medicine and research. tDCS has been found to optimize decision-making,  increase working memory and sense of agency when applied to relevant areas. When applied to medical matters tDCS has aided to relieve symptoms in depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and addiction.

One recent review paper, published in the Brain Stimulation has investigated the use of tDCS in studies sponsored by the US Department of Defence. The US Department of Defence studies emphasize the variety of application the tDCS can be applied to. The review highlights the effectiveness of tDCS in rehabilitation following injury when limb prosthetics are used. tDCS has also been shown to optimize performance and vigilance for military personal and aid in acquiring new motor skills. Other DARPA projects have aimed to use neuromodulation in the management of pain, something that, if successful could be applied to both the civilian and defence sectors.

Of course a great deal of research is still needed to be done in the wide spectrum of neuromodulation research, however, this review offers us an interesting insight into the novel uses of tDCS. Applied neuroscience is a growing field that in the future can aid and help us with many things throughout life.

Source paper: Nelson & Tepe, 2015.

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Daniel Edgcumbe

I am studying towards my PhD in cognitive neuroscience at a leading London university

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