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Neuroscience. 1999 Mar;89(2):335-46.

The basic mechanism for the electrical stimulation of the nervous system.

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TU-BioMed, Vienna University of Technology, Austria.


Neural signals can be generated or blocked by extracellular electrodes or magnetic coils. New results about artificial excitation are based on a compartmental model of a target neuron and its equivalent electrical network, as well as on the theory of the generalized activating function. The analysis shows that: (i) in most cases, the origin of artificial excitation is within the axon and the soma is much more difficult to excite; (ii) within the central nervous system, positive and negative threshold currents essentially depend on the position and orientation of the neurons relative to the applied electric field; (iii) in several cases, stimulation with positive currents is easier; and (iv) it should be possible to excite synaptic activity without the generation of propagating action potentials. Furthermore, the theory of the generalized activating function gives hints to understanding the blockage of neural activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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