History of Electrotherapy


Supervisors: Dr. Anne Vanhoest and Prof. Nick Donaldson

Student: Malini Patel

Electrotherapy (medical application of electricity to the body) started
in the 1740s and for 2 centuries it was offered as a treatment of many
illnesses. However, by the 1970s, the methods had been abandoned yet,
nowadays, the treatment of motor disorders by exploiting neural
plasticity with electrical or magnetic stimulation is a hot research
topic: we may wonder whether some methods that were in use for some 200
years will be rediscovered but now with some scientific understanding
of the therapeutic mechanisms. Although this is a literature based
project (using the Wellcome Library of the History of Medicine as well
as UCL's own resources). The student should aim to critically appraise
the treatments used, at least concerning the physics involved (but not
necessarily the neurophysiology). Topics: biophysics, history of
physics and physiology, nerve stimulation, plasticity of CNS.