The excursion to Sooma medical was at walking distance from my home so I had no excuse to not attend it. So I did.
Sooma Medical gave us a presentation on transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS in short. They described their method as placing electrodes on the head and applying a small amount of current for roughly 30 minutes, five times a week for three weeks. They showed us the tools they use to do this, and showed some results of their experiments using this treatment. All in all it seemed reasonably convincing that this probably has some positive effect on depression, and doesn’t have any strong negative side-effects.
The second part of the presentation, where they talked about people using tDCS for anything and everything, wasn’t very convincing to me, and could have probably been left out of the talk. When you mention Michael Phelps using tDCS to improve his performance, my bullshit-detectors activate automatically, and I feel like someone is going to try to sell essential oils to me. Generally, however, the sentiment seemed to simply be that these are some interesting things that people are trying to do using tDCS, and they may or may not work.
Finally, I can’t help but feel that this method is still somewhat primitive, like we’re poking the brain with a stick and seeing what happens, but I suppose we have to work with what we have.