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Brain Imaging Behav. 2010 Dec;4(3-4):199-211. doi: 10.1007/s11682-010-9099-7.

Sustained cortical and subcortical neuromodulation induced by electrical tongue stimulation.

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Neuroscience Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA.


This pilot study aimed to show that information-free stimulation of the tongue can improve behavioral measures and induce sustained neuromodulation of the balance-processing network in individuals with balance dysfunction. Twelve balance-impaired subjects received one week of cranial nerve non-invasive neuromodulation (CN-NINM). Before and after the week of stimulation, postural sway and fMRI activation were measured to monitor susceptibility to optic flow. Nine normal controls also underwent the postural sway and fMRI tests but did not receive CN-NINM. Results showed that before CN-NINM balance-impaired subjects swayed more than normal controls as expected (p ≤ 0.05), and that overall sway and susceptibility to optic flow decreased after CN-NINM (p ≤ 0.005 & p ≤ 0.05). fMRI showed upregulation of visual sensitivity to optic flow in balance-impaired subjects that decreased after CN-NINM. A region of interest analysis indicated that CN-NINM may induce neuromodulation by increasing activity within the dorsal pons (p ≤ 0.01).

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