WHERE DID YOUR INTEREST IN COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE COME FROM?
I have struggled with depression and ADHD since I was diagnosed in middle school, and I accepted it as something that would always battle. I will admit to, in my younger years, questioning whether life was really worth living. In October 2009 my Dad was diagnosed with a Stage 4 Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. My dad passed away on July 10th 2013, barely 3 years after being diagnosed. As an engineer, it was at this point that I decided that brain wasn't something to be feared but instead understood.
WHY AM I DOING THIS?
As an engineer with an interest in cognitive neuroscience, I decided that I would take action instead of deciding to exist with depression (which affects 15 million americans) and ADHD (which affects roughly 8 million americans). After having tried many different medications for my ailments over the course of the last 18 years. My capabilities for dealing with these issues have been apparent to me, going from a 2.49 GPA in high school, to a 3.49 GPA in undergraduate, and a 3.61 GPA when doing my masters in Computer Science at Boston University. It is my goal to one day go back to school for a phD in Cognitive Neuroscience.
WHAT HAVE I ALREADY DONE?
I have spent the last 5 years of my life studying the brain, how depression manifests both mentally and physically, and how ADHD effects learning and recall. I have invested over $2,000 of my own funds building prototypes and doing research. I have investigated, prototyped and tested many different techniques and devices for treatment of my symptoms. My current studies are focused on non-medication techniques and methodologies for treatment.
WHAT DO I HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?
My goal with this project is to be able to identify and treat ADHD and Depression by identifying the areas of the brain that are active during episodes and treating them with a non-invasive current delivery method known as trans-cranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).
WHAT IS tDCS?
The idea of using current for treatment of many symptoms has been around for over 100 years, first being discovered by Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta when exploring the function of voltage in animal cells. tDCS is used by applying an anode (positive lead) to raise brain potentiation (raising synaptic strength) in a specific location of the skull for treatment of things like depression and ADHD, or using the cathode (negative lead) to lower brain potentiation (lowering synaptic strength) for things like reducing seizures or chemical dependance. While tDCS showed much promise, the technology at this time was expensive, and cheaper options such as anti-depressants rose to prevalence. In the past ten years or so, the increased ability to study the brain without the massive costs has shown that anti-depressants in a large percentage of the population can cause suicidal ideation, re-invigorating the study of electrochemical treatment methods as an alternative to medications.
WHAT DO I NEED?
I am looking to purchase an EEG developers kit which also does tDCS, tACS (trans-cranial Alternating Current Stimulation) and tRNS (trans-cranial Random Noise Stimulation). Additionally, it has machine learning built into it, allow you to keep a journal to track emotional states and what is going on in the brain at the time of said emotional states. This device is $999 currently. Additionally, I would like to purchase the fNIRS (functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) attachment, which will allow me to look at oxygen saturation in the brain which shows areas in which the brain is performing the most work. These devices together will allow me to get a complete idea, or at least as complete as current science will allow, of what is going on in my brain and that of others suffering from the same debilitating disorders.