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NCCIH Research Blog

New Brain Initiative Funding Opportunities for Non-Invasive Neuromodulation Research

December 16, 2015

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.


Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Given the growing interest in non-invasive neuromodulation devices for the central nervous system, NCCIH and nine other NIH ICs recently released two new NIH BRAIN Initiative Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs):

  • BRAIN Initiative: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation - Mechanisms and Dose/Response Relationships for Targeted CNS Effects (R01) - RFA-MH-16-815
  • BRAIN Initiative: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation - New Tools and Techniques for Spatiotemporal Precision (R01) - RFA-MH-16-810

Non-invasive neuromodulation devices can be defined as those that do not require surgery and do not penetrate the brain parenchyma. These devices include, but are not limited to, those used for focused ultrasound stimulation, magnetic seizure therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, static magnets, transcranial alternating current stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The devices are rapidly becoming one of the tools considered for the treatment and diagnosis of brain disorders and could become an adjunct to neurological, neuropsychopharmacological, rehabilitative, cognitive behavioral therapies, and complementary and integrative health approaches. The broad potential therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses of non-invasive neuromodulation devices for the central nervous system will undoubtedly continue to expand in the future. Along with the growing number of opportunities, there are challenges and open questions associated with the use of these devices.

These new FOAs seek applications focused on understanding how neural activity is modified in response to an exogenously applied magnetic or electrical stimulation; on innovative strategies to improve the spatial and temporal precision of existing neuromodulation techniques; and on development of novel neuromodulation techniques and use of unexplored energy forms towards targeting specific brain circuits.

Pain management is a high priority research area for NCCIH and the integration of non-invasive neuromodulation techniques to complementary interventions for improving chronic pain outcomes could be valuable. Other areas of interest include: combined effects of mind and body interventions (acupuncture, meditation, manipulative therapies) and neuromodulation strategies to augment efficacy; and use of neuromodulation to identify brain circuits of mind and body interventions.

We welcome you to review the funding opportunities and share them with colleagues. Do you have comments or questions? Please feel free to send them to me through the NCCIH Research Blog comment form.



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