Neuromodulation

Neuromodulation is a rapidly changing clinical and research domain. The traditional dividing line between psychology, neurology, psychiatry and neurosurgery is progressively disappearing.

Until recently the neurosurgeon only treated those pathologies which were directly related to the brain. Now, however, a variety of conditions are being treated by neuromodulators that only seem to be indirectly related with the brain. For example, bladder problems, tinnitus, angina, heart failure, obesity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome etc., are being investigated to determine whether neuromodulation could be useful for these clinical entities.

The rapidly developing technology and the consequent increase in neuroscientific insights will cause an explosive growth of functional brain abnormalities that can be treated by neuromodulation.

An aging population creates a large group of people with an aging nervous system, and thus abnormalities associated with dementia as well as decreased neuronal control of peripheral organs will mandate novel approaches.

Partly under the influence of the media, disability, pain, and other symptoms are being depicted as negative, and people do not accept inconveniences any more that were considered an integral aspect of aging before. People therefore will demand a treatment so that he or she can function perfectly again. They can search the internet for help and support.

The same trend is observed in younger people who do not accept when  told that they must learn to live with a certain dysfunction. Where previously one could be given a possible answer that nothing can be done for this or that problem, this is changing dramatically.

Due to the "decade of the brain" a huge amount of fundamental neuroscientific information has been generated that permits possible answers to these questions via innovative 'translational research'. However, this requires an intense collaboration between clinicians and basic researchers, and the neurosurgeon is just one part in this interdisciplinary team of clinicians and non-clinicians, basic scientists and clinical researchers.