EEG provides a window into the functioning brain. By observing behavior and brain activity, neuroscience researchers can gain insight into how the two are correlated. Typically this involves monitoring EEG during well defined brain states or in cognitive tasks. EEG is also clinically used in the detection and characterization of epileptic seizures, brain lesions (from tumors, stroke or others), coma, monitoring in anesthesia or in the study of sleep, for example. Recently, we and other research groups have been developing EEG biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, with promising results. Our technologies, Enobio and Starstim now make it possible to easily record quality EEG in the lab, clinic or at home for any of these applications.
Patients can use neurofeedback to learn to modulate their EEG using audiovisual feedback of their brain activity – an approach shown to be effective in ADHD, for instance.
EEG provides a unique opportunity in terms of temporal resolution, wearability and cost compared to other neuroimaging techniques when it comes to potential Human Computer Interaction applications. The field of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) is largely based on EEG for these reasons. Another field, known as Affective BCI, seeks to develop measures of the affective state of a user based on their EEG and other physiological measures.
Transcranial Current Stimulation (tCS or tES as it is also called, including tDCS, tACS and tRNS) is a non-invasive form of electrical neuromodulation. It is being intensely used in basic neuroscience and clinical research. Recent studies by several groups worldwide indicate that tCS holds significant potential in the treatment of chronic pain, stroke rehabilitation, depression, addiction and cognitive enhancement.
Neuropathic pain arises from or is caused by a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system. It is a sign of poorly adaptive neuroplasticity in the nervous system. One of the mechanisms related to this type of pain is that changes are established in the connectivity patterns in the brain.
Institut Guttmann (Barcelona), in collaboration with the Berenson-Allen Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation of Harvard University, has developed and scientifically demonstrated the efficacy of an innovative treatment that combines non-invasive, painless brain stimulation with virtual reality strategies. The injured patient (with a typically Spinal Cord Injury) is presented with a representation in augmented reality of his/her legs in movement, thus activating the motor cortex. At the same time small electrical currents are applied at specific cortical regions to reduce the pain.
The combination of these two techniques induces a more intense and long-lasting analgesic effect than either of the techniques separately, causing no undesirable effects on the patient’s cognitive abilities. This approach is thus a good alternative or complementary option to pharmacological treatment. More info
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