For more than 70 years, the promise of noninvasive neuromodulation using focused ultrasound has been growing while diagnostic ultrasound established itself as a foundation of clinical imaging. Significant technical challenges have been overcome to allow transcranial focused ultrasound to deliver spatially restricted energy into the nervous system at a wide range of intensities. High-intensity focused ultrasound produces reliable permanent lesions within the brain, and low-intensity focused ultrasound has been reported to both excite and inhibit neural activity reversibly. Despite intense interest in this promising new platform for noninvasive, highly focused neuromodulation, the underlying mechanism remains elusive, though recent studies provide further insight. Despite the barriers, the potential of focused ultrasound to deliver a range of permanent and reversible neuromodulation with seamless translation from bench to the bedside warrants unparalleled attention and scientific investment. Focused ultrasound boasts a number of key features such as multimodal compatibility, submillimeter steerable focusing, multifocal, high temporal resolution, coregistration, and the ability to monitor delivered therapy and temperatures in real time. Despite the technical complexity, the future of noninvasive focused ultrasound for neuromodulation as a neuroscience and clinical platform remains bright.
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© 2018, The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc.
- Focused ultrasound