Cranial-Nerve Non-Invasive Neuromodulation

Cranial-nerve non-invasive neuromodulation was developed to improve neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganize and regain abilities – and thereby strengthen functional recovery. The approach was devised for use with rehabilitation training and physical therapy. Clinical trials have been carried out in patients who have mild to moderate traumatic brain injury or multiple sclerosis. (1 - 3) One such device delivers patterned sequences of electrical stimulation through a portable neurostimulator placed on the tongue. Typically patients are instructed to use the device at home during a training regimen. Developers explained they considered the tongue a promising interface to relay signals to the brain due to such factors as its neural pathways, and the conductivity of saliva. The signals are thought to help induce neuroplasticity. This potential treatment has been investigated to augment rehabilitation for balance deficits. (4-6)


1. Enhanced Gait and Balance Training. University of Wisconsin, Madison. Identifier: NCT01896466.

2. Exploring the Use of Non-invasive Neuromodulation Combined With Exercise in People With Advanced Multiple Sclerosis (MS). University of Wisconsin, Madison. Identifier: NCT02252666.

3. Noninvasive Neuromodulation for Treatment of Symptoms Due to Mild or Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury. University of Wisconsin, Madison. Identifier: NCT02158494.

4. Wildenberg JC, Tyler ME, Danilov YP, Kaczmarek KA, Meyerand ME. Sustained cortical and subcortical neuromodulation induced by electrical tongue stimulation. Brain imaging and behavior. 2010;4(3-4):199-211. doi:10.1007/s11682-010-9099-7. 

5. Danilov Y, Kaczmarek K, Skinner K, Tyler M. Cranial Nerve Noninvasive Neuromodulation: New Approach to Neurorehabilitation. In: Kobeissy FH, editor. Brain Neurotrauma: Molecular, Neuropsychological, and Rehabilitation Aspects. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2015. Chapter 44. PubMed PMID: 26269928.

6. MDDI Staff (April 4, 2016). Medtech Startup Showdown 2016: Round 2—LineGard Med vs. Helius Medical. MDDI Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.

Reviewed Feb. 10, 2017
Executive Officer, International Neuromodulation Society, 2011-2019
Hunter Pain Clinic, Broadmeadow, NSW Australia

Last Updated on Monday, November 22, 2021 08:33 PM