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Neuroscientist. 2008 Oct;14(5):521-8. doi: 10.1177/1073858407311101. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Bartholow, Sciamanna, Alberti: pioneers in the electrical stimulation of the exposed human cerebral cortex.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Science at the University of Milan, Milano, Italy.


Although the past 25 years have witnessed increasing interest in human brain stimulation, its historical development is marked by phases of fascination and obscurity. Its history dates back to the 19th century when the first reports describing application of an electric current to an isolated point on the exposed brain made brain stimulation a major neuroscientific novelty of the time. In this article, the authors present and discuss a number of early experiments involving electrical stimulation of the exposed human brain. In this important, albeit unexplored, historical chapter of brain stimulation, the 3 investigators, Bartholow, Sciamanna, and Alberti, were the first to reproduce findings in animals with electrical brain stimulation in humans.

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