The Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS®) Device

Amplifying the Brain’s Ability to Heal Itself

Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS®)

While physicians and patients turn to available options to manage a host of neurological symptoms today, limited options actually help rehabilitate lost functions for the millions of people living with chronic disorders. The PoNS device is being studied as a new potential option for the treatment of chronic neurological symptoms of disease or trauma.

How it Works

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PoNS Scientists

This novel way to apply the concept of neuroplasticity to rehabilitation is the brainchild of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Tactile Communication and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (TCNL).

Scientific Theory: Amplifying the Brain’s Ability to Heal Itself

The PoNS device is based on almost 40 years of research in the field of neuromodulation—the use of external stimulation to intentionally change and regulate the electrochemical environment of the brain. It is believed that neuromodulation enhances neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to restructure or relearn in response to new experiences, sensory input, and functional demands. Research has shown that the process of neuroplasticity underlies all cerebral learning, training and rehabilitation.

In clinical studies, the PoNS device coupled with targeted functional therapy (together PoNS® Treatment) induces neuroplasticity. Therapy consists of targeted physical, occupational and cognitive exercises, based on the patient’s deficits.tient and a personalise treatment plan will be proposed.

PoNS was approved in Canada on October/2018

Research shows that electrical stimulation of the tongue (translingual neurostimulation – TLNS) stimulates two major cranial nerves: the trigeminal (the nerve responsible for sensations in the face, biting and chewing) and the facial (the nerve responsible for motor control of most of the muscles of facial expression). The electrical stimulation of the cranial nerves creates a flow of neural impulses that are then delivered directly into the brain stem—the main control center for many life functions, including sensory perception and movement. From the brain stem, these impulses travel throughout the brain and activate or reactivate neurons and structures involved in human function—the cortex, spinal cord and potentially the entire central nervous system.

Researchers believe that this sustained stimulation initiates a sequential cascade of changes in the actual interconnected nuclei, or the neuronal network, that are at the core of major anatomical components of the brain.

Based on this theory, it is believed that neuromodulation induced by the PoNS device, combined with functional therapy, may be applied to improve a large variety of neurological symptoms. For more detailed information, download the PoNS fact sheet from the Media Resources page.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Noninvasive tongue stimulation combined with intensive cognitive and physical rehabilitation induces neuroplastic changes in patients with multiple sclerosis: A multimodal neuroimaging study.
Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translation and Clinical | January-March 2017

Feasibility of sensory tongue stimulation combined with task-specific therapy in people with spinal cord injury: a case study
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Jun 06, 2014

New approach to neurorehabilitation: cranial nerve noninvasive neuromodulation (CN-NINM) technology\
Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, and Environmental Monitoring IV | Jun 05, 2014

Non-invasive neuromodulation to improve gait in chronic multiple sclerosis: a randomized double blind controlled pilot trial
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | May 01, 2014

Emerging Noninvasive Neurostimulation Technologies: CN-NINM and SYMPATOCORECTION
Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science | Mar 01, 2014

Altered Connectivity of the Balance Processing Network After Tongue Stimulation in Balance-Impaired Individuals
Brain Connectivity | Feb 19, 2013

High-resolution fMRI detects neuromodulation of individual brainstem nuclei by electrical tongue stimulation in balance-impaired individuals
NeuroImage | Jun 15, 2011

Sustained cortical and subcortical neuromodulation induced by electrical tongue stimulation
Brain Imaging and Behavior | Jul 08, 2010

Effects of electrotactile vestibular substitution on rehabilitation of patients with bilateral vestibular loss
Neuroscience Letters | Jun 07, 2010

Closing an Open-Loop Control System: Vestibular Substitution Through the Tongue
Journal of Integrative Neuroscience | Dec 01, 2003

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