How does Alpha-Stim® Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) work? The exact mechanism by which Alpha-Stim® produces effects is not fully known. However, based on previous and ongoing studies, it appears that the Alpha-Stim® microcurrent waveform activates particular groups of nerve cells that are located at the brainstem, a site at the base of the brain that sits atop of the spinal cord. These groups of nerve cells produce the chemicals serotonin and acetylcholine, which can affect the chemical activity of nerve cells that are both nearby and at more distant sites in the nervous system. In fact, these cells are situated to control the activity of nerve pathways that run up into the brain and that course down into the spinal cord. By changing the electrical and chemical activity of certain nerve cells in the brainstem, Alpha-Stim® appears to amplify activity in some neurological systems, and diminish activity in others. This neurological ‘fine tuning’ is called modulation, and occurs either as a result of, or together with the production of a certain type of electrical activity pattern in the brain known as an alpha state which can be measured on brain wave recordings (called electroencephalograms, abbreviated EEG). Such alpha rhythms are accompanied by feelings of calmness, relaxation and increased mental focus. The neurological mechanisms that are occurring during the alpha state appear to decrease stress-effects, reduce agitation and stabilize mood, and control both sensations and perceptions of particular types of pain.
These effects can be produced after a single treatment, and repeated treatments have been shown to increase the relative strength and duration of these effects. In some cases, effects and chemical changes evoked by Alpha-Stim® have led to a durable re-tuning back to normal function. Electromedical Products International, Inc. is dedicated to using exciting new research technology and advanced, innovative methods to study the exact mechanisms through which Alpha-Stim® can be beneficial to patients with pain, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
James Giordano, Ph.D. is Director of Science for Electromedical Products
International, Inc. of Mineral Wells, TX, and is Scholar in Residence at the
Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center,
Washington, DC. Dr. Giordano is also Visiting Scholar at the Center for
Ethics, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, and Invited Lecturer at the
Roundtable in Arts and Sciences, Oxford University, UK. As a neuroscientist,
Dr. Giordano's ongoing work is focused upon neural mechanisms of pain, the
philosophy of pain research and practice of pain medicine, and the
neuroethical issues inherent to the development and use of emergent
technologies in neurology and psychiatry. Dr. Giordano received a Ph.D. in
biological psychology from the City University of New York. He was an NIEHS
post-doctoral fellow in neurotoxicology and neuroscience at The Johns
Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, served as Visiting Scientist in the
Department of Clinical Neuropharmacology, Max Planck Institute for
Psychiatry, Munich, Germany, was an American Psychological Association
Visiting Fellow in neuroimaging at the Martinos Center for Advanced Imaging,
Harvard University Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, and
completed post-graduate training in bioethics at the Neiswanger Institute
for Bioethics and Health Policy, Loyola University/Stritch Medical School,
Chicago, IL. The author of over 65 refereed publications on pain, ethics and
medical philosophy, Dr. Giordano serves as Neuroscience Section Editor for
the Pain Physician journal, Bioethics Editor for the American
Journal of Pain Management, and Ethics Section Editor for the journal
Practical Pain Management. Dr. Giordano may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is reproduced with the permission of Electromedical Products International, Inc. © 2006
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How Alpha-Stim® Works