Both neurostimulation techniques of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) have been thoroughly investigated as therapeutic techniques for significantly improving a variety of mental health symptoms involving the central nervous system, including autism, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and, importantly for this study, sensory processing disorders, particularly those concerned with the auditory system, e.g., tinnitus. In healthy populations, both techniques have been successfully used for various cognitive enhancing effects as well. Although the precise neuromodulatory mechanisms by which tDCS and tVNS have these effects is only partially understood, the techniques remain safe, inexpensive, non-invasive and painless. Misophonia is an auditory sensory processing disorder characterized by intense negative emotional affect (i.e., ignition of the fight, flight or freeze response of the autonomic nervous system) resulting from specific, normally soft but repetitive, trigger sounds, e.g., pen clicking, gum chewing, etc. Symptoms of misophonia include intense feelings or rage, disgust, anger, and other physiological responses involving fight, flight or freeze reactions. Currently, misophonia is not (but is possibly close to) being listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and no cure exists at this time. Treatments are very limited and are largely unsuccessful at this stage, and include cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and psychoanalysis. Our aims with this clinical trial research are two-fold: 1) to investigate the hypothesis that tDCS has a therapeutic effect (possibly by attenuation) on ameliorating classic misphonic symptoms, and 2) to investigate the hypothesis that tVNS does the same.
This study is not currently looking for participants, and is still seeking funding.
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Read about Dr. Danesh’s study on Misophonia Accommodations: