Non-invasive brain stimulation in neurological diseases

Neuropharmacology. 2013 Jan:64:579-87. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.05.016. Epub 2012 Jun 9.


Non-invasive brain stimulation has shown its potential to modulate brain plasticity in humans. Endeavour has been made to utilize brain stimulation in neurological diseases to enhance adaptive processes and prevent potential maladaptive ones. In stroke for instance both sensorimotor and higher cognitive impairment, such as aphasia and neglect, has been addressed to facilitate functional recovery. In Parkinson's disease, brain stimulation has been evaluated to improve motor and non-motor symptoms. In the present review we provide an update of the field of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to improve motor and higher cognitive functions in patients suffering from stroke and Parkinson's disease. Rather than attempting to be comprehensive in regard of the reviewed scientific field, this article may be considered as a present day's framework of the application of non-invasive brain stimulation on selected examples of common neurological diseases. At the end we will briefly discuss open controversies and future directions of the field which has to be addressed in upcoming studies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Cognitive Enhancers'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / trends
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology
  • Language Disorders / prevention & control
  • Magnetic Field Therapy / methods*
  • Magnetic Field Therapy / trends
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Psychomotor Disorders / etiology
  • Psychomotor Disorders / prevention & control