Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) found itself being featured recently on a Youtube video from “The Modern Rogue”; in the form of a lighthearted, funny, semi-scientific take on Brian Brushwood and Jason Murphy’s experience with using a tDCS device (the Apex Type A to be specific). The 19 minute video has the duo introducing tDCS as a concept, and how the technology parallels with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). They reference phenomenons such as the mild tingling sensation at the site of stimulation and the occasional flashes of light in response to the electrical stimulus–the latter effect commonly known as phosphenes, where as they mentioned in the video, occurs when the electrodes are placed too close to the eye, subsequently stimulating retinal cells and producing the perceived visual sensation of flashing lights.
The two then proceed to set up and use an electrode montage that Apex claims to enhance the motor ability of the user (in this case, Brushwood). In order to gauge the effect this montage has on reaction time, Brushwood takes a baseline measurement of his reaction time on HumanBenchmark, then again after the tDCS session–with a few rounds of Overwatch during the session for good measure. Their results show marginal improvement at best if at all between their baseline and their test measurements.
Of course, it goes without saying, entertaining as Brushwood and Murphy may be–their evaluation of this product is hardly a groundbreaking scientific experiment performed with the academic rigor and meticulousness of a professor and/or researcher well-versed in the field of neuroscience and neural engineering.
As always, take these videos with a grain of salt, and perform your own research using scientifically credible publications from resources such as Pubmed, and leave channels like “The Modern Rogue” to do what they do best–entertain.