Functional near-infrared spectroscopy in non-invasive neuromodulation

Neural Regen Res. 2024 Jul 1;19(7):1517-1522. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.387970. Epub 2023 Nov 8.


Non-invasive cerebral neuromodulation technologies are essential for the reorganization of cerebral neural networks, which have been widely applied in the field of central neurological diseases, such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, and mental disorders. Although significant advances have been made in neuromodulation technologies, the identification of optimal neurostimulation parameters including the cortical target, duration, and inhibition or excitation pattern is still limited due to the lack of guidance for neural circuits. Moreover, the neural mechanism underlying neuromodulation for improved behavioral performance remains poorly understood. Recently, advancements in neuroimaging have provided insight into neuromodulation techniques. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy, as a novel non-invasive optical brain imaging method, can detect brain activity by measuring cerebral hemodynamics with the advantages of portability, high motion tolerance, and anti-electromagnetic interference. Coupling functional near-infrared spectroscopy with neuromodulation technologies offers an opportunity to monitor the cortical response, provide real-time feedback, and establish a closed-loop strategy integrating evaluation, feedback, and intervention for neurostimulation, which provides a theoretical basis for development of individualized precise neurorehabilitation. We aimed to summarize the advantages of functional near-infrared spectroscopy and provide an overview of the current research on functional near-infrared spectroscopy in transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial electrical stimulation, neurofeedback, and brain-computer interfaces. Furthermore, the future perspectives and directions for the application of functional near-infrared spectroscopy in neuromodulation are summarized. In conclusion, functional near-infrared spectroscopy combined with neuromodulation may promote the optimization of central neural reorganization to achieve better functional recovery from central nervous system diseases.

Grants and funding

Funding:This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 32271370; National Key Research and Development Project, No. 2020YFC2004200; and Fundamental Research Funds for Central Public Welfare Research Institutes, No. 118009001000160001 (all to ZL).