The origins of brain stimulation

The Origins of Brain Stimulation

2000 years of brain stimulation

Records of electrical stimulation of the brain date back to the early civilizations. Pliny The Elder and Galen of Pergamum described the use of living torpedo fish to cure headaches via their electrical discharges.
Epilepsy could be cured by using electric catfish, according to Ibn-Sidah, an 11th century physician, and in the 18th century direct current was applied in the treatment of melancholia.

In the last 50 years the efficacy of brain stimulation has improved greatly, at the same time the physical discomfort often associated with some methods has diminished.

Our new series on the fascinating history of electrical stimulation of the brain kicks off with a unique video: Professors John Rothwell and Anthony Barker reminiscing about the invention of TMS.

In the short videos we’ll be publishing in the following months we’ll be looking at the history, application and efficacy of different methods of brain stimulation in more detail.


Reminiscing with Anthony Barker about his invention of TMS

Professor John Rothwell, who was one of the first to experience Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in London and understand its significance, reminisces about the early days of TMS in a conversation with Professor Anthony T. Barker, inventor of the technique.

Dr. Barker tells an extremely interesting story, interspersed with lovely anecdotes, from both the interviewer and the interviewee.

The Brainclinics Foundation wishes to thank Professor John Rothwell for graciously making the interview available, Professor Anthony Barker for his advice and supplementary visual material, and a special thanks to Professor Shoogo Ueno, inventor of the figure of eight coil, for his encouragement and kind words.


Coming soon

Watch this space or have a look at our series about the pioneers of the EEG

All our educational videos are independently peer reviewed.


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