Noninvasive human brain stimulation

Timothy Wagner, Antoni Valero-Cabre, Alvaro Pascual-Leone

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    598 Citations (Scopus)


    Noninvasive brain stimulation with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is valuable in research and has potential therapeutic applications in cognitive neuroscience, neurophysiology, psychiatry, and neurology. TMS allows neurostimulation and neuromodulation, while tDCS is a purely neuromodulatory application. TMS and tDCS allow diagnostic and interventional neurophysiology applications, and focal neuropharmacology delivery. However, the physics and basic mechanisms of action remain incompletely explored. Following an overview of the history and current applications of noninvasive brain stimulation, we review stimulation device design principles, the electromagnetic and physical foundations of the techniques, and the current knowledge about the electrophysiologic basis of the effects. Finally, we discuss potential biomedical and electrical engineering developments that could lead to more effective stimulation devices, better suited for the specific applications. Copyright © 2007 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)527-565
    JournalAnnual Review of Biomedical Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2007


    • Electromagnetism
    • Modeling
    • Neural networks
    • Neuromodulation
    • Neurophysiology
    • Rehabilitation
    • tDCS
    • Therapeutic applications
    • TMS


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