Deep brain stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation and transcranial stimulation: An overview of stimulation parameters and neurotransmitter release

G C Albert, C M Cook, F S Prato, A W Thomas
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 2009, 33 (7): 1042-60
Neurological disorders are among the most challenging medical problems faced by science today. To treat these disorders more effectively, new technologies are being developed by reviving old ideas such as brain stimulation. This review aims to compile stimulation techniques that are currently in use to explore or treat neurological disorders. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive method of modulating neuronal activity with induced electric currents. Other more invasive methods, such as deep brain stimulation and vagal nerve stimulation, use implanted probes to introduce brain activity alterations. Scientific and clinical applications have largely preceded the development of extensive animal models, presenting a challenge for researchers. This has left researchers with information on alleviating symptoms in humans but without solid research as to the mechanisms and neurobiological effects of the devices. This review combines stimulation parameters developed in animal models and stimulation techniques used in human treatment; thus, resulting in a greater understanding of the mechanisms and neurobiological effects of neuromodulation devices.

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