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Biomedical applications of electrical stimulation.

  • Author(s): Zhao, Siwei;
  • Mehta, Abijeet Singh;
  • Zhao, Min
  • et al.

This review provides a comprehensive overview on the biomedical applications of electrical stimulation (EStim). EStim has a wide range of direct effects on both biomolecules and cells. These effects have been exploited to facilitate proliferation and functional development of engineered tissue constructs for regenerative medicine applications. They have also been tested or used in clinics for pain mitigation, muscle rehabilitation, the treatment of motor/consciousness disorders, wound healing, and drug delivery. However, the research on fundamental mechanism of cellular response to EStim has fell behind its applications, which has hindered the full exploitation of the clinical potential of EStim. Moreover, despite the positive outcome from the in vitro and animal studies testing the efficacy of EStim, existing clinical trials failed to establish strong, conclusive supports for the therapeutic efficacy of EStim for most of the clinical applications mentioned above. Two potential directions of future research to improve the clinical utility of EStim are presented, including the optimization and standardization of the stimulation protocol and the development of more tissue-matching devices.

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