Modifying somatosensory processing with non-invasive brain stimulation

Sunbin Song, Marco Sandrini, Leonardo G Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purposeful manipulation of cortical plasticity and excitability within somatosensory regions may have therapeutic potential. Non-invasive brain stimulation (NBS) techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have shown promise towards this end with certain NBS protocols augmenting somatosensory processing and others down-regulating it. Here, we review NBS protocols which, when applied to primary somatosensory cortex, facilitate cortical excitability and tactile acuity (i.e., high-frequency repetitive TMS (rTMS), intermittent theta burst stimulation (TBS), paired associative stimulation (PAS) N20-5 to 0, anodal tDCS), and protocols that inhibit the same (i.e., low-frequency rTMS, continuous TBS, PAS N20-20, cathodal tDCS). Other studies have targeted multisensory regions of the brain to modulate somatosensory processing. These studies in full present a wide array of strategies in which NBS can be utilized to influence somatosensory processing in a behaviorally and clinically relevant capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-37
Number of pages11
JournalRestorative neurology and neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Biophysics
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Somatosensory Cortex
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

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