Effects of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) on non-pain related cognitive and behavioural functioning

Koene R.A. Van Dijk*, Erik J.A. Scherder, Philip Scheltens, Joseph A. Sergeant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

An extensive search through nine electronic bibliographic databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, ERIC, PsychINFO, Psyndex, Cinahl, Biological Abstracts, Rehab-data) was performed in order to review the effects of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) on non-pain related cognitive and behavioural functioning. Eight studies were identified on neglect due to stroke, six studies on Alzheimer's disease (AD), one study on aging, and two studies on coma due to traumatic brain injury. The results of the various studies revealed that TENS has a variety of effects. These consist of enhancement of somatosensory functioning, visuo-spatial abilities and postural control in neglect, improved memory, affective behaviour and rest-activity rhythm in AD and acceleration of awakening in coma. Effectiveness of TENS is discussed in relation to various stimulation parameters: duration, frequency, pulse width and intensity. It is argued that arousal may underlie the beneficial influence of TENS in various conditions. Finally, suggestions are offered for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-270
Number of pages14
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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