Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has shown remarkable therapeutic benefits for patients with otherwise treatment-resistant movement and affective disorders. This technique is not only clinically useful, but it can also provide new insights into fundamental brain functions through direct manipulation of both local and distributed brain networks in many different species. In particular, DBS can be used in conjunction with non-invasive neuroimaging methods such as magnetoencephalography to map the fundamental mechanisms of normal and abnormal oscillatory synchronization that underlie human brain function. The precise mechanisms of action for DBS remain uncertain, but here we give an up-to-date overview of the principles of DBS, its neural mechanisms and its potential future applications.
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