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Whenever the human body performs a task, such as moving a muscle, thinking a thought or even performing involuntary actions like breathing, it relies on neurons throughout the nervous system.

In fact, as you read this paragraph you’ll activate thousands of neurons as your eyes scan the words and your brain processes their meaning. After processing information, neurons still rely on chemicals known as neurotransmitters to carry their commands to the parts of the body that’ll generate an action. This process of regulating neuron activity via neurotransmitters is called neuromodulation.

But for one in five people, these natural processes and signals become disrupted as a result of nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dystonia and depression.

Fortunately, modern medicine has allowed doctors to alter the process of neuromodulation and stimulating the nervous system to better regulate the brain’s signals and alleviate some symptoms for patients battling neurologic conditions.

At the University of Minnesota, neurology, bioengineering and neuroscience researchers collaborate closely with leaders in the state’s biomedical device industry to develop and test new neuromodulation systems. We also train the next generation of neuroscientists, engineers and clinicians who will bring this type of technology from the lab to our patients.

Recently, the state of Minnesota provided the University of Minnesota with new resources to support neuromodulation research through the Minnesota Discovery Research Innovation Economy (MnDRIVE) funding program. The funding will help support new faculty hires, drive research to better understand the underlying effects of neuromodulation in brain disorders, improve current neuromodulation technology and launch new clinical programs.

Over time, we’ll continue to bring profound benefits to patients while reducing the overall economic impact of some of today’s most complex and debilitating brain conditions.

Related research

Related Academic Health Center units

Departments and Institutes
Department of Neurology | Department of Neurosurgery | Department of Neuroscience | Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences | Department of Psychiatry | Institute for Translational Neuroscience | Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


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Community and continuing education