Regulating consumer use of transcranial direct current stimulation devices

Anne-Maree Farrell, Adrian Carter, Nigel C Rogasch and Paul B Fitzgerald
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00778
Published online: 2 July 2018

Uncertainty about the safety of unsupervised use of technologies to enhance cognition, mood and behaviour warrants regulatory oversight

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation device that uses a small electrical current (∼ 1–2 mA) between two or more electrodes placed on a person’s scalp to manipulate neural activity. The current is not enough to cause brain cells to fire, but can change their readiness to fire, potentially influencing learning and cognition. There is considerable evidence that tDCS can modulate cortical excitability for brief periods (∼ 30 min) after a single 20-minute application.1

  • Anne-Maree Farrell1
  • Adrian Carter2
  • Nigel C Rogasch2
  • Paul B Fitzgerald3,4

  • 1 Centre for Health Law and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Alfred Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Epworth HealthCare, Melbourne, VIC



Anne-Maree Farrell is supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT130101768). Adrian Carter is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellowship (identification no. APP1123311). Nigel Rogasch is supported by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (no. 1072057).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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