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Raj Persaud in conversation - the podcasts

Jul 1, 2015

Dr Philip Wilkinson talks to Dr Raj Persaud about Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation - a new promising treatment in Psychiatry?


Dr Philip Wilkinson: I am a consultant old age psychiatrist with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Related to my work with inpatients, I have an interest in the management of late life depression and am currently working with colleagues in the Neurobiology of Ageing Group on transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).


I have an interest in psychological treatments with older people. I have recently worked with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre on developing a mindfulness intervention in dementia care and am a Trustee of the Oxford Mindfulness Foundation.


Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is a non-invasive, painless brain stimulation treatment that uses direct electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain. A constant, low intensity current is passed through two electrodes placed over the head which modulates neuronal activity. There are two types of stimulation with tDCS: anodal and cathodal stimulation. Anodal stimulation acts to excite neuronal activity while cathodal stimulation inhibits or reduces neuronal activity. 

Although tDCS is still an experimental form of brain stimulation, it potentially has several advantages over other brain stimulation techniques. It is cheap, non-invasive, painless and safe. It is also easy to administer and the equipment is easily portable. The most common side effect of tDCS is a slight itching or tingling on the scalp.

Several studies suggest it may be a valuable tool for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain. Research has also demonstrated cognitive improvement in some patients undergoing tDCS. Currently, tDCS is not an FDA-approved treatment.


You can listen to the interview with Dr Philip Wilkinson via a free app on iTunes and google play store entitled 'Raj Persaud in conversation', which includes a lot of free information on the latest research findings in mental health, plus interviews with top experts from around the world. Download it free from these links