Rewiring the brain through electrical stimulation on the tongue

click to enlargeWe don’t think much about it, but the rich network of nerves (and musculature) on the human tongue is also a direct route to the brain.  Now the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), collaborating with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the NeuroHabilitation Corporation is developing and testing the Portable NeuroModulation Stimulator, or PoNS, for treatment of brain injury and related disease: TBI, stroke, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. The PoNS is an electrode-covered oral device which is used for 20-30 minutes of stimulation therapy, called cranial nerve non-invasive neuromodulation (CN-NiNM). Specific stimulation patterns are paired with physical, occupational, and cognitive exercises customized for each patient. Effectively it helps to rewire the brain’s neural pathways and mitigate damaged functioning. NeuroHabilitation will be commercializing it but the US Army is testing it at hospital and veterans’ facilities, and will be spearheading FDA approval. Three articles with different looks at this: the US Army website, Popular Science and GizMag.

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Comments

  1. matt christofferson

    Hi my name is Matt Christofferson. I have TBI i’m 29 years old. I currently have a Baclofen pump in to help control my spasticity. I’m just wondering where I might get one of these electric stim units to help me. I was in a car accident 5 years ago. I’m kinda at a dead end with the obtions I have left, which right now is nothing. I can walk with braces on my feet, but would like to get more back. Thank you very much for your time.
    Matt Christofferson

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