Clinical Neuroscience

[Non-invasive brain stimulation for relieving acute and chronic pain]

CSIFCSÁK Gábor, ANTAL Andrea

MAY 30, 2012

Clinical Neuroscience - 2012;65(05-06)

[Controlling pain has always been one of the biggest challenges of medical science. Despite pharmacological developments, still many patients suffer from long-lasting pain. During the last 40 years several surgical interventions have been used to modulate the activity of the central nervous system in order to control chronic, pharmacoresistant pain. Because such interventions may involve very serious adverse events, safer and at least equally efficient methods are still required. In the 90’s new techniques of non-invasive brain stimulation have been introduced that enable the facilitation or inhibition of distinct cortical areas. These methods are based on the electrical stimulation of brain structures and to date they have been successfully used to modulate perceptual, cognitive and motor functions in healthy subjects and various diseases as well. In this review we describe such techniques of non-invasive brain stimulation, namely repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation and review the current literature about their efficacy in controlling acute and chronic pain.]

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[Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder, characterized by repeated episodes of upper airway obstruction during sleep, resulting intermittent hypoxia and disruption of the normal sleep pattern, which caused cognitive dysfunction in these patients. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure is the treatment of choice for this disorder. The aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of short-term positive airway pressure on sleep pattern (polisomnographic measures), cognitive function and anxiety. Twenty four newly diagnosed and previously untreated patients with obstructive sleep apnea were evaluated a battery of neuropsychological tests before and after 2 and a half months of the treatment. We focused on working memory, short and long-term episodic memory, executive functions, anxiety and subjective sleepiness. Our results showed that the two and half month of treatment improved the respiration during sleep, sleep pattern and the subjective sleepiness. We found improvement in short- and long-term verbal memory, and complex working memory. Despite of treatment we did not find improvement in visuospatial learning. These results reveal that 2 and a half months of positive airway pressure treatment restored not only the normal respiration during sleep and normal sleep pattern, but also the cognitive functions. Our study suggests that cognitive dysfunction is at least partial reversible in obstructive sleep apnea patients after positive airway pressure treatment.]

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