The Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre is seeking volunteers to participate in a new clinical trial. In a novel approach the centre is examining whether combining a non-invasive form of brain stimulation with computerised ‘brain training’ can improve cognition or ‘thinking skills,’ including learning, memory, decision making and mathematical ability following a mild to moderate head injury. The brain stimulation involves the application of a very gentle electric current using two surface electrodes to the head. This ‘transcranial direct current stimulation’ has been shown to increase brain activity in areas important for cognition.
Rehabilitation of cognition is an important part of post head injury treatment but current standard cognitive rehabilitation – consisting of either re-training/remediating impaired abilities – has generally resulted in only modest improvements in functioning.
Participation will involve approximately one hour of daily treatment sessions over four weeks at the research centre in Prahran, Melbourne. Volunteers will be provided with compensation towards time and travel costs. Participants must be between 18 and 65 years of age who have developed attention and memory problems following a mild to moderate head injury. The trial will run for the next 10-12 months.
Principal investigator in the project, Dr Kate Hoy, leads the Cognitive Neurotechnology Research Group.