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New concepts and techniques in intracranial and non-invasive brain stimulation

Electrical stimulation has become an important branch of neurotechnology and clinical therapeutic applications. The use of electrical stimulation reaches from deep structures of the brain (deep brain stimulation or short DBS) as used in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease or depression, to intracortical electrode arrays (e.g. the quite established, so called Utah Array) whose electrode tips reach to deeper layers of the cerebral cortex, to electrocorticographic (ECoG) electrode arrays, which are positioned on the surface of the cerebral cortex, to finally non-invasive stimulation methods using surface electroencephalographic (EEG) electrodes or methods were special transcranial current electrodes are used.

Our interdisciplinary research group focuses on electrical stimulation using the miniaturized version of ECoG electrode arrays, the so called micro-ECoG in combination with fully implantable devices, and non-invasive methods to investigate the changes in brain activity that can be elicited by cortical electrical stimulation. Changes comprise so called cortico-cortical evoked potentials, which can be elicited by electrical stimulation with short pulses and are a direct indication for connections between areas where the stimulation was applied and where the potentials were measured. We want expand this approach, in which we investigate electrical stimulation using a broad spectrum of stimulation frequencies instead of single pulses. Here, our aim is to investigate not only cortico-cortical evoked potentials but cortico-cortico spectral changes, i.e. changes in different frequency bands, which are known to be the neural correlate of biological and behavioral patterns.

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