With the recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson's Disease, dystonia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for epilepsy and depression, and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for the treatment of depression, neuromodulation has become increasingly relevant to clinical research. However, these techniques have significant drawbacks (eg, lack of special specificity and depth for the rTMS, and invasiveness and cumbersome maintenance for DBS). This article reviews the background, rationale, and pilot studies to date, using a new brain stimulation method-low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation (LIFUP). The ability of ultrasound to be focused noninvasively through the skull anywhere within the brain, together with concurrent imaging (ie, functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]) techniques, may create a role for research and clinical use of LIFUP. This technique is still in preclinical testing and needs to be assessed thoroughly before being advanced to clinical trials. In this study, we review over 50 years of research data on the use of focused ultrasound (FUS) in neuronal tissue and live brain, and propose novel applications of this noninvasive neuromodulation method.
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