Noninvasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS)
Full course description
This course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of; noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES). Students will learn about the mechanisms of action; the physical-physiological principles; various application protocols; functional brain stimulation paradigms and approaches for combining brain stimulation with brain imaging techniques both within and between experimental session(s).
Since the very beginning of experimental brain research, neuroscientists have dreamed about not only observing the brain at work, but actually changing and modulating the neuronal activity in the brain without causing harm to patients or subjects. With the development of noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) it is now possible to reach into the skull of a patient or healthy subject and to temporarily alter brain activity at a specific location. This possibility opens the door to a wide range of experimental and clinical applications. New protocols and technologies allow researchers to modulate not only the level, but also the type of brain processes that occur. For instance, brain oscillations can be entrained to an external stimulation frequency.
NIBS enables the researcher or clinician to change neuronal activity in the task-related brain area and reveal behavioural changes in actual task performance. This enables identification of those brain areas, or brain mechanisms, that are functionally relevant to a particular function. In a clinical context, NIBS has also been used to treat neurological, psychiatric, and psychological disorders that are accompanied by a pathologically increased or decreased activity, or pathological changes in brain oscillations, in a specific brain region or network. Since NIBS offers the possibility to change neuronal activity beyond the stimulation period itself, it is increasingly applied as a therapeutic tool, for instance to treat diseases like depression.
Students are able to understand:
- physics and mechanisms of action of NIBS;
- physiological effects of NIBS;
- NIBS protocols and application paradigms;
- NIBS in human cognitive neuroscience;
- combining NIBS with functional imaging;
- clinical applications of NIBS.