Noisy galvanic vestibular stimulation (nGVS) is an emerging non-invasive brain stimulation technique. It involves applying alternating currents of different frequencies and amplitudes presented in a random, or noisy, manner through electrodes on the mastoid bones behind the ears. Because it directly activates vestibular hair cells and afferents and has an indirect effect on a variety of brain regions, it has the potential to impact many different functions. The objective of this review is twofold: (1) to review how nGVS affects motor, sensory, and cognitive performance in healthy adults; and (2) to discuss potential clinical applications of nGVS. First, we introduce the technique. We then describe the regions receiving and processing vestibular information. Next, we discuss the effects of nGVS on motor, sensory, and cognitive function in healthy adults. Subsequently, we outline its potential clinical applications. Finally, we highlight other electrical stimulation technologies and discuss why nGVS offers an alternative or complementary approach. Overall, nGVS appears promising for optimizing human performance and as an assistive technology, though further research is required.
The potential of noisy galvanic vestibular stimulation for optimizing and assisting human performance
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