Neuromodulation has been used effectively for Parkinson’s Disease patients, whereby an implantable pulse generator is implanted in areas identified via Magnetic Resonance Imaging as defective.
This treatment generally reduces motor symptoms and most patients can reduce medication (Benabid et al., 2009). Neuromodulation has also been used effectively for Epilepsy patients, where the vagus nerve is stimulated, and 30-50% of patients experience a reduction in seizure frequency and severity (Ben-Menachem, 2002).
These therapies are quite invasive and require the implantation of a device. Less invasive methods involve application of a miniature electrode array to the tongue, a technique developed by the Neurorehabilitation group at the University of Wisconsin.
This group applies the stimulation to the tongue at the same time as the patient carries out a movement task (Cranial Nerve, Non-Invasive Neuromodulation; CN-NINM). This combination is thought to be highly efficient at stimulating neuroplasticity (Danilov et al., 2007; Wildenberg et al., 2010). This technique yields large and rapid improvements in walking capabilities of traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis patients.