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This article is part of the supplement: Eighteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2009

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New pulse shapes for effective neural stimulation

Lorenz Hofmann*, Christian Hauptmann and Peter A Tass

Author Affiliations

Neuromodulation, Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine, Juelich, Germany

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BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10(Suppl 1):P318  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-S1-P318

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:13 July 2009

© 2009 Hofmann et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

Electrical stimulation of neural structures is the basis of spinal cord stimulation (for pain therapy) as well as deep brain stimulation (for the therapy of neurological and psychiatric disorders). In deep brain stimulation, an electrical stimulus pulse is applied permanently or in pulse trains via an implanted electrode to selective brain regions. Recent applications tend to excite the neural structures up to a level at which they will eventually fire an action potential. Thus the neuronal activity within a region can be influenced. In order to carry out safe stimulation and prevent tissue or electrode damage, the waveform generally consists of biphasic, charge-balanced pulses. Effective yet gentle stimulation is of prime importance to aid in the prevention of side effects and in conserving the battery life of implants. We have developed new pulse shapes and tested these with different parameters for their effectiveness based on numerical simulations using the Hodgkin-Huxley neuron model. Our results show a predominance of the new pulse shapes over the widely used standard pulse shape while key requirements to the waveform are maintained.