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Assessment and Enhancement of Human Brain Plasticity Using Electromagnetic Stimulation

Book Chapter
Edwards DJ, Medeiros AH, Cortes M, Pascual-Leone A.
Year Published: 
Tracy JI, Hampstead BM, Sathian K, editors. Cognitive Plasticity in Neurologic Disorders. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press; 2014. Chapter 16, 424p.
Print ISBN-13: 9780199965243 | DOI:10.1093/med/9780199965243.003.0016
Book on Oxford Medicine Online


Technological development and an explosion of interest in non-invasive brain stimulation over the past 30 years have led to new insights into human brain function, pathophysiology, and plasticity. The number of present applications is astounding, and has proceeded faster than a firm grasp of mechanism. Although the basis of this approach stems from work in the motor system, it has also been shown to have potential benefit in cognitive processes and psychiatric diseases. As data emerge concerning performance enhancement in healthy humans, new questions arise, including ethical considerations. This chapter discusses the development of brain stimulation and neuromodulation as remarkable tools of the twenty-first century for understanding and promoting human brain plasticity. The present limitations and future directions of the field are also discussed.