Researchers are developing a device that combines electrical brain stimulation with EEG recording, opening potential new paths for treating neurological disorders.
The device, under development at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, could help bring back lost brain function by measuring how the brain responds to therapies that stimulate it with electric current. The approach could selectively switch certain brain activities on and off, according to Anthony Norcia, the Stanford psychology professor who initiated the project.
The impulses sent to the brain through electrodes attached to the scalp are about 1 million times stronger than the brain’s neural response. To detect the much fainter brain response, scientists previously had to monitor brain waves and behavioral response in separate sessions before and after stimulation. The new device measures brain waves at practically the same time that the stimulus is applied, potentially establishing a much better link between the two than when neurostimulation via electrodes are placed on the scalp.