NeuroDots: From Single-Target to Brain-Network Modulation: Why and What Is Needed?

Dirk De Ridder*, Muhammad Ali Siddiqi, Justin Dauwels, Wouter A. Serdijn, Christos Strydis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Current techniques in brain stimulation are still largely based on a phrenologic approach that a single brain target can treat a brain disorder. Nevertheless, meta-analyses of brain implants indicate an overall success rate of 50% improvement in 50% of patients, irrespective of the brain-related disorder. Thus, there is still a large margin for improvement. The goal of this manuscript is to 1) develop a general theoretical framework of brain functioning that is amenable to surgical neuromodulation, and 2) describe the engineering requirements of the next generation of implantable brain stimulators that follow from this theoretic model. Materials and Methods: A neuroscience and engineering literature review was performed to develop a universal theoretical model of brain functioning and dysfunctioning amenable to surgical neuromodulation. Results: Even though a single target can modulate an entire network, research in network science reveals that many brain disorders are the consequence of maladaptive interactions among multiple networks rather than a single network. Consequently, targeting the main connector hubs of those multiple interacting networks involved in a brain disorder is theoretically more beneficial. We, thus, envision next-generation network implants that will rely on distributed, multisite neuromodulation targeting correlated and anticorrelated interacting brain networks, juxtaposing alternative implant configurations, and finally providing solid recommendations for the realization of such implants. In doing so, this study pinpoints the potential shortcomings of other similar efforts in the field, which somehow fall short of the requirements. Conclusion: The concept of network stimulation holds great promise as a universal approach for treating neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-729
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

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