NEUROMODULATION

The field of neuromodulation is becoming the new way to treat many issues that originate in the way neurons interact among themselves. It covers a wide spectrum of technologies that

modify pathological or non-optimal activity within the nervous system to achieve a more desired behavior, emotional response, perception, and motivation. Individual neuromodulators can have different actions in a neuron by targeting multiple physiological mechanisms. They can be invasive and non-invasive

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Neuromodulators modify synaptic communication through a number of mechanisms which can be broadly divided into effects that target synapses directly and those that indirectly modify synaptic interactions by changing the excitability of neurons.

BRAIN TRAINING DEVICES (CES)

Neurostimulation technologies provide relief to an unprecedented number of patients affected by debilitating neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

Non-invasive neurostimulation therapies involve the application of electrical stimulation to drive neural function within a circuit.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is a well-researched, safe, effective, and cost-effective means to manage mood and sleep disorders.

With mental health care moving away from pharmaceuticals and toward a new set of devices, CES is the first line of treatment for many disorders, as it is safer and at least as effective as other forms of therapy (APA, 2020).

Most cranial electrotherapy stimulators are limited to 600 µA at 9 volts (0.0054 watts). To put this in perspective, this is about 11,000 times less energy output than a 60 watt bulb. Some people do not even feel this small amount of current.

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Training your brain to function at its best optimizes cognitive capacity, improves decision making, motivation, and regulation, and help neurons to connect and re-connect in healthy and efficient ways that reestablishes balance.

Some of the CES devices available for home use are:

NEURO-STIMULATION

Therapies and technologies that 

include deep brain stimulation (DBS), intracranial cortical stimulation (ICS), transcranial direct

current stimulation (tDCS), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have shown

very positive results helping neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, ADHD, etc.

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There are also several more ways to stimulate brain activity (neurostimulation) at home that are affordable and safe. Some of the more available are Cranial Electrotherapy stimulation (CES or tACT), Photomodulation, and devices that use entrainment. 

TRANSCRANIAL DIRECT CURRENT STIMULATION (TDCS)

These devices provide a form of neuro-stimulation that uses constant, low current delivered to the brain area of interest via electrodes on the scalp.

They deliver stimulation in waveforms to gently stimulate the brain to produce serotonin and other neurochemicals responsible for healthy mood and sleep.

Not an FDA-approved treatment yet. It still is considered an investigational technology even when there are several devices available to purchase.

It uses direct current as opposed to alternating current like on CES. For tDCS use, a constant current (not voltage) is required. Batteries are used as voltage sources in commercial tDCS treatment devices (typically 9 V or 18 V if two batteries are needed). 

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Some of the devices ( such as LIFTiD] specifically targets the prefrontal cortex area of the brain, an area associated with cognitive performance, including attention, focus, alertness, and productivity. Some other devices are:

  • Sooma

  • Platoscience

  • ActivaDose

  • Focus V3

  • Brain Premier

  • Relivion (migraine)

  • Ybrain

  • Mindd Stim

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Entrainment

Interaction between independent rhythmical processes.

Entrainment is the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony. The less diversity there is in a system, the more energy it will conduct. It is easier and takes less energy for systems to work in cooperation than in opposition.

Brainwave entrainment is a method to stimulate the brain into entering a specific state by using a pulsing sound, light, or electromagnetic field. The pulses elicit the brain’s ‘frequency following’ response, encouraging the brainwaves to align to the frequency of a given beat.

Audio-Visual Entrainment (AVE) is a technique that uses pulses of light and sound at specific frequencies to gently and safely guide the brain into various brainwave patterns. By altering your brainwave frequencies, you can boost your mood, improve sleep patterns, sharpen your mind, and increase relaxation levels, all with the simple push of a button! 

The company that has really made use of this principle is MindAlive with a series of devices that have different programs targeting to enhance meditative states, energize, brain booster, sleep, and improve mood. 

There are also new devices such as Sensate or Cove that use this principle to stimulate the vagus nerve. 

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PHOTOBIOMODULATION

Photobiomodulation therapy is defined as the utilization of non-ionizing photonic energy to trigger photochemical changes within cellular structures that are receptive to photons, particularly mitochondria.

 

Light energy is absorbed by mitochondria and converted into cellular energy called “ATP” for cellular use. The process creates mild oxidants (ROS) that leads to gene transcription and then to cellular repair and healing.

 

Mitochondria use oxygen and glucose to produce most of the cell's energy. The mitochondria produce the energy currency of the cell through respiration, and to regulate cellular metabolism. 

 

Photomodulation enhances cerebral blood flow and brain metabolism.

Vielight neurotechnology has the most published research in the field of safe, non-invasive brain stimulation technology via photobiomodulation.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS has been found to be an effective method in managing the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. It uses magnetic devices to stimulate nerves in regions of the brain associated with mood regulation. The technique is typically only used when other methods to treat depression haven't been effective. During an average TMS session, a TMS practitioner uses an electromagnetic coil device to send a series of magnetic pulses to a patient's brain. It's often called rTMS, or repetitive TMS because the practitioner will send these signals repeatedly throughout each session. The average session usually lasts between 30 to 60 minutes.

Most treatments using this technology have to happen at the psychiatrist's office because the machines are big and expensive, but some companies are developing small devices using Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF], also known as low field magnetic stimulation, using electromagnetic fields in an attempt to heal non-union fractures and depression. The FDA had cleared several such stimulation devices for home us:

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