A Coil Design for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of Deep Brain Regions

Background:

Noninvasive magnetic stimulation of the human central nervous system has been used in research and the clinic for several years. However, the coils used thus far stimulatemainly the cortical brain regions andcould not stimulate deeper brain regions directly.

Objective:

The purpose of the study was to develop a coil to stimulate deep brain regions.

Methods:

Stimulation of the nucleus accumbens and the nerve fibers connecting the prefrontal cortex with the nucleus accumbenswas one major target of the authors’ coil design. Numeric simulations of the electrical field induced by several types of coils were performed and accordingly an optimized coil for deep brain stimulation was designed. The electrical field induced by the new coil design was measured in a phantom brain and compared with the double-cone coil.

Results:

The numeric simulations show that the electrical fields induced by various types of coils are always greater in cortical regions (closer to the coil placement); however, the decrease in electrical field within the brain (as a function of the distance from the coil) is markedly slower for the new coil design. The phantom brain measurements basically confirmed the numeric simulations.

Conclusions:

The suggested coil is likely to have the ability of deep brain stimulation without the need to increase the intensity to levels that stimulate cortical regions to a much higher extent and possibly cause undesirable side effects.

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