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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Feb 2023 - 10 Feb 2023


Human Studies, Neuromodulation


Front Hum Neurosci



Pain control based on oscillatory brain activity using transcranial alternating current stimulation: An integrative review.


Takeuchi N


Developing effective tools and strategies to relieve chronic pain is a high-priority scientific and clinical goal. In particular, the brain regions related to pain processing have been investigated as potential targets to relieve pain by non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS). In addition to elucidating the relationship between pain and oscillatory brain activity, transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), which can non-invasively entrain oscillatory brain activity and modulate oscillatory brain communication, has attracted scientific attention as a possible technique to control pain. This review focuses on the use of tACS to relieve pain through the manipulation of oscillatory brain activity and its potential clinical applications. Several studies have reported that tACS on a single brain reduces pain by normalizing abnormal oscillatory brain activity in patients with chronic pain. Interpersonal tACS approaches based on inter-brain synchrony to manipulate inter-brain communication may result in pain relief prosocial effects. Pain is encoded by the spatiotemporal neural communication that represents the integration of cognitive, emotional-affective, and sensorimotor aspects of pain. Therefore, future studies should seek to identify the pathological oscillatory brain communication in chronic pain as a therapeutic target for tACS. In conclusion, tACS could be effective for re-establishing oscillatory brain activity and assisting social interaction, and it might help develop novel approaches for pain control.