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Treating Depression With tDCS: Startup Ybrain Aims for the Mainstream

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A doctor’s prescription for clinical depression could one day sound like this: In the comfort of your own home, slip on a brain-zapping headband a few times per week. For 20 minutes, send a tiny stream of electricity through your brain. 

The treatment would be delivered by a user-friendly type of brain stimulation called tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation), which has recently become a hot topic in neuroscience research. Now it’s beginning to make the transition from lab to doctor’s office. And a South Korean startup called Ybrain thinks its stylish tDCS headband, specifically designed to treat depression, will be the product that brings tDCS into the clinical mainstream.

Ybrain founder and CEO Kiwon Lee made his pitch earlier this month at the NYC Neuromodulation conference, where doctors and researchers working on the cutting edge of brain stimulation met to compare notes and chart the field’s progress. When his turn came at the podium, Lee predicted that his device will receive regulatory approval in Korea this March. He also laid out his very optimistic game plan for worldwide market domination.