Optimizing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) electrode position, size, and distance doubles the on-target cortical electric field: Evidence from 3000 Human Connectome Project models [article]

Kevin A. Caulfield, Mark S. George
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a widely used noninvasive brain stimulation technique with mixed results and no FDA-approved therapeutic indication to date. So far, thousands of published tDCS studies have placed large scalp electrodes directly over the intended brain target and delivered the same stimulation intensity to each person. Inconsistent therapeutic results may be due to insufficient cortical activation in some individuals and the inability to determine an optimal
more » ... e. Here, we computed 3000 MRI-based electric field models in 200 Human Connectome Project (HCP) participants, finding that the largely unexamined variables of electrode position, size, and between-electrode distance significantly impact the delivered cortical electric field magnitude. At the same scalp stimulation intensity, smaller electrodes surrounding the neural target deliver more than double the on-target cortical electric field while stimulating only a fraction of the off-target brain regions. This new optimized tDCS method can ensure sufficient cortical activation in each person and could produce larger and more consistent behavioral effects in every prospective research and transdiagnostic clinical application of tDCS.
doi:10.1101/2021.11.21.469417 fatcat:iincv7f5zvce3jl33jxohm674q