Noninvasive Brain Stimulation for Modulating Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is a brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and to adjust their activities in response to environmental changes. This adaptive potential of the nervous system allows the brain to recover after disorders or injuries. Therefore, the successful rehabilitation of a patient with brain disorder generally depends on enhancing successful neuroplasticity during the recovery process.
Noninvasive brain stimulation (NBS) such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is one of the techniques to modulate neural excitability and plasticity. High frequency rTMS and anodal tDCS are used to facilitate cortical excitability, and low frequency rTMS and cathodal tDCS are used to inhibit cortical excitability. Using these characteristics, NBS is applied for modulating motor, cognitive, and language functions in various neurologic disorders.
NEURI LAB has been conducting various clinical trials in patients with stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and cognitive impairment using the NBS technique to develop effective therapeutic protocols.
To improve effectiveness of NBS, simultaneous or sequential stimulation of two or more brain regions using single or dual stimulation modalities are designed and its neuromodulation effects are investigated. For example, dual-mode stimulation uses rTMS and tDCS simultaneously over two target sites. To reduce the inter-individual variability of NBS responsiveness, we used neuroimaging-based target determination, BDNF genotyping, and functional brain network analysis. Inter-individual differences were also investigated by monitoring brain signals using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) during NBS.
In addition, feasibility of home-based brain stimulation was investigated. The goal of NEURI LAB in this field is to establish personalized and effective therapeutic NBS intervention methods to improve functional recovery in brain disorders.