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Your brain at work

Your brain is at work all the time, but depending on what you are doing, some regions of the brain are more active than others.

PlatoScience uses a neurostimulation technology called tDCS to deliver a constant, low current to the brain. This activates neurons in specific regions and accelerates processes such as learning, focusing and creative problem solving.

The science of neurostimulation

In your brain, billions of neurons communicate with each other. A neuron sends a signal when it is activated by other incoming signals. Activating your neuron causes electrical changes that transmit a nerve impulse – your neuron is signaling. As you read this, nerve impulses run through your neurons and facilitate communication between them. tDCS makes it easier for the neuron to be activated – so with tDCS more nerve impulses are transmitted and thereby activity is enhanced.

The science of neurostimulation

In your brain, billions of neurons communicate with each other. A neuron sends a signal when it is activated by other incoming signals. Activating your neuron causes electrical changes that transmit a nerve impulse – your neuron is signaling. As you read this, nerve impulses run through your neurons and facilitate communication between them. tDCS makes it easier for the neuron to be activated – so with tDCS more nerve impulses are transmitted and thereby activity is enhanced.

tDCS

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, or simply tDCS, is a non-invasive neurostimulation technology, used to modulate neuronal activity and increase synaptic plasticity by applying a low-intensity current to the scalp through two or more electrodes. The method can affect the activation of neuronal networks but is not strong enough to initiate non-existing neuronal activity. tDCS is used by both clinicians and researchers, and with PlatoScience it is now safe to use by private persons.

tDCS

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, or simply tDCS, is a non-invasive neurostimulation technology, used to modulate neuronal activity and increase synaptic plasticity by applying a low-intensity current to the scalp through two or more electrodes. The method can affect the activation of neuronal networks but is not strong enough to initiate non-existing neuronal activity. tDCS is used by both clinicians and researchers, and with PlatoScience it is now safe to use by private persons.

Neuronal activity with tDCS

Normally (white line), for a neuron to signal it needs enough incoming signals from other neurons to reach a well-defined threshold (dotted line). It is a go/no-go mechanism, where only if the neuron is receiving sufficient signals to cross the threshold, the nerve impulse will be transmitted and the neuron will fire. tDCS works by applying a subthreshold electric current to the brain, which means that the neuron needs less incoming signal to fire (red line). tDCS does not in itself induce neuronal signaling but enhances your already existing neuronal activity.

Neuronal activity with tDCS

Normally (white line), for a neuron to signal it needs enough incoming signals from other neurons to reach a well-defined threshold (dotted line). It is a go/no-go mechanism, where only if the neuron is receiving sufficient signals to cross the threshold, the nerve impulse will be transmitted and the neuron will fire. tDCS works by applying a subthreshold electric current to the brain, which means that the neuron needs less incoming signal to fire (red line). tDCS does not in itself induce neuronal signaling but enhances your already existing neuronal activity.

PlatoScience neurostimulation

At PlatoScience we have dedicated our attention to 2 specific regions of the brain: The Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex and the area known as Precuneus. These areas are responsible for a variety of higher cognitive functions, which are all crucial for our ability to solve problems and optimize our workflow.

With PlatoWork we have made it as simple as possible for you to enjoy the benefits of tDCS, by offering 4 different the modes: Learn, Create, Concentrate and Rethink.

PlatoScience neurostimulation

At PlatoScience we have dedicated our attention to 2 specific regions of the brain: The Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex and the area known as Precuneus. These areas are responsible for a variety of higher cognitive functions, which are all crucial for our ability to solve problems and optimize our workflow.

With PlatoWork we have made it as simple as possible for you to enjoy the benefits of tDCS, by offering 4 different the modes: Learn, Create, Concentrate and Rethink.

Learn

When you acquire new knowledge, your brain relies on the prefrontal cortex to process the information. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher cognitive processes including working memory, which is essential for learning. Analysis of tDCS studies have shown that the method improves learning and that new skills can be acquired faster with the use of neurostimulation.

Create

The right prefrontal cortex is an area associated with higher cognitive processes such as non-verbal association. This mode stimulates the right frontal lobe of the brain, use this mode when you are generating new ideas or other brainstorming related tasks.

Concentrate

To concentrate or focus your attention on a task you need better attentional control. With the Concentrate mode, you target the prefrontal cortex to boost concentration and minimize impulses from reward-seeking regions of the brain, while minimizing mind-wandering through inhibition of activity in the precuneus.

Rethink

When you need to get new ideas you need to rethink what you already know. The Rethink mode does this by boosting activity in the precuneus, the hub of your creative brain, and by inhibiting the prefrontal cortex – the control center of your brain – thereby increasing incoming thoughts, thoughts that may evolve into great ideas.

Dorsolateral PreFrontal Cortex

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is located in the frontal part of our brain and is the latest evolved part of it. It is responsible for all higher cognitive processes such as planning, attentional control, working memory (which is important for learning), abstract reasoning etc. PlatoWork stimulates the prefrontal cortex to enhance learning, concentration and creativity.

Dorsolateral PreFrontal Cortex

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is located in the frontal part of our brain and is the latest evolved part of it. It is responsible for all higher cognitive processes such as planning, attentional control, working memory (which is important for learning), abstract reasoning etc. PlatoWork stimulates the prefrontal cortex to enhance learning, concentration and creativity.

Precuneus

The Precuneus is the hub of the default mode network, an interconnected set of brain regions. The default mode network is associated with day-dreaming and mind-wandering and is found to be more active in creative individuals. PlatoWork stimulates the precuneus to enhance creativity and your ability to rethink ideas.

Precuneus

The Precuneus is the hub of the default mode network, an interconnected set of brain regions. The default mode network is associated with day-dreaming and mind-wandering and is found to be more active in creative individuals. PlatoWork stimulates the precuneus to enhance creativity and your ability to rethink ideas.

The right place

There is a great flexibility of possible stimulation sites, which means that different brain regions can be targeted. At PlatoScience we focus on the areas of the brain that you use when you think. To target the right brain region you need to know which skill you need to enhance. Using PlatoScience neurostimulation ensures that you target the right region depending on the stimulation mode you choose.

The right task

The effect of tDCS depends on functional tasks, and it only works if stimulation is combined with a functional target. So it is important that you combine a task relevant with your choice of stimulation. At PlatoScience we do our best to guide you to what tasks fit the different stimulation modes.

The right time

It takes time for your neurons to respond to the effects of stimulation. The effects appear during stimulation and will last for approximately an hour, maybe more. To achieve the optimal effect of neurostimulation, you must work with your brain in the time after stimulation, where your neurons will fire in their normal pace again. But because of neuroplasticity the effect will last.

Stimulating your brain with tDCS will only work if your brain works with it. tDCS primes your neurons to perform faster, but it only works, if you yourself activate them. No input - no effect. This means that you need to activate the stimulated area of the brain to achieve the optimal and desired effect. So, the effects of tDCS depend not only on the stimulation site but also on the task you are performing.

- Signe Ulrik Holm, PhD.
Research Manager, PlatoScience

Increase neuroplasticity

When stimulating with tDCS, not only do your neurons fire more rapidly, they also fire together. This strengthens the connections between your neurons, resulting in increased neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to change over time and to adapt to the skills you need. Allthough the brain is not technically a muscle, it works much in the same way; the parts of the brain that you use are strengthened, and the parts you don’t use are weakened.

By enhancing neuroplasticity with tDCS you improve your brain’s ability to adapt when you learn new skills. And the effects of tDCS are lasting. Numerous studies have investigated the effects of tDCS on cognition. While the effects of a single stimulation session vary too much to be finally conclusive (confounded by high individual variability), the effects of multiple stimulation sessions are found to have beneficial effects even in healthy people, especially if neurostimulation is done in combination with a task. 

Increase neuroplasticity

When stimulating with tDCS, not only do your neurons fire more rapidly, they also fire together. This strengthens the connections between your neurons, resulting in increased neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to change over time and to adapt to the skills you need. Allthough the brain is not technically a muscle, it works much in the same way; the parts of the brain that you use are strengthened, and the parts you don’t use are weakened.

By enhancing neuroplasticity with tDCS you improve your brain’s ability to adapt when you learn new skills. And the effects of tDCS are lasting. Numerous studies have investigated the effects of tDCS on cognition. While the effects of a single stimulation session vary too much to be finally conclusive (confounded by high individual variability), the effects of multiple stimulation sessions are found to have beneficial effects even in healthy people, especially if neurostimulation is done in combination with a task. 

Research

tDCS is widely used in research, in medical treatment and by healthy people. Thousands of studies investigating tDCS has shown the efficacy, reliability and safety of this method, and has laid the foundation for the headsets developed by PlatoScience. tDCS is considered a very safe method and an analysis of 33.200 stimulation sessions combined show no serious side-effects.

Roots in academia

PlatoScience was founded by two PhD’s in neuropsychology and product design & development respectively. Our research team is managed by a PhD in neuroscience. At PlatoScience we use a science driven approach and base our products on scientifically proven effects.

Product safety

Safety is at the core of PlatoScience products and our products are CE marked to ensure a safe stimulation session, every time. Device safety has been at the core of product development, resulting in a series of mechanical and electronic measures to ensure that it's impossible for the device to deliver more than the desired currents. As a result PlatoScience has more than 500 current users, none of who have reported adverse events.

Recommended further reading

Scientific foundation of the Platowork headset

Here you can find the white paper which establishes the science behind the PlatoWork headset.

Safety

Bikson et al (2016) Safety of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: Evidence Based Update 2016. Brain Stimulation, 9, 641-661

This review by Bikson et al (2016) investigates the evidence on the safety of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Safety in this study is measured by the absence of evidence for a Serious Adverse Effect. The criteria for Serious Adverse Effect is rigorously defined in the paper. Looking at over 33,200 sessions of tDCS in a wide variety of subjects, this review found no reports of any Serious Adverse Effect.

Physiology of neurostimulation

Stagg, Antal & Nitsche (2018) Physiology of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. The Journal of ECT, 34, 144-152

Stag et al (2018) reviews the physiology and mechanisms of neurostimulation techniques. This review is particularly helpful in giving a background to neurostimulation and the significance of tDCS within this field of neuroscience.

Learning and neurostimulation

Simonsmeier et al (2018) Electrical brain stimulation (tES) improves learning more than performance: A meta-analysis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 84, 171-181

For a long time researchers in neuroscience have been interested in whether non-invasive neurostimulation, such as tDCS, can improve learning and test performance. Simonsmeir et al (2018) conducted a meta-analysis of 35 studies (with 885 participants) and found that the effects of neurostimulation are stronger when used to acquire new skills. Furthermore, it is shown that a new skill can be acquired to up to double the normal rate if neurostimulation is used simultaneously.

Creativity and neurostimulation

Lucchiari, Sala & Vanutelli (2018) Promoting Creativity Through Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). A Critical Review. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12, 167

Along with understanding the neural basis of creativity, there has been increased interest in whether it is possible to enhance creativity through cognitive and neural stimulation. Lucchiari et al (2018) conducted a critical review of the existing research to investigate how tDCS, along with other neuromodulation techniques, may enhance creativity. Exploring a number of different theoretical frameworks, they conclude that tDCS may be useful in enhancing creativity.

Morten Friis-Olivarius

CSO, PhD

Signe Ulrik Holm

Research Manager, PhD