Electrical stimulation to manipulate the central nervous system (CNS) has been applied as early as the 1750s to produce visual sensations of light. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), cochlear implants, visual prosthetics, and functional electrical stimulation (FES) are being applied in the clinic to treat a wide array of neurological diseases, disorders, and injuries. This review describes the history of electrical stimulation of the CNS microenvironment; recent advances in electrical stimulation of the CNS, including DBS to treat essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, and depression; FES for the treatment of spinal cord injuries; and alternative electrical devices to restore vision and hearing via neuroprosthetics (retinal and cochlear implants). It also discusses the role of electrical cues during development and following injury and, importantly, manipulation of these endogenous cues to support regeneration of neural tissue.


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