Three-Dimensional Distribution of the Electric Field Induced in the Brain by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Using Figure-8 and Deep H-Coils


The H-coils are a novel development in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), designed to achieve effective stimulation of deep neuronal regions without inducing unbearable fields cortically, thus broadly expanding the potential feasibility of TMS for research and for treating various neurologic disorders.


To compare the field distribution of two H-coil versions, termed H1 and H2, and of a standard figure-8 coil.


Three-dimensional electrical field distributions of the H1 and H2-coils, designed for effective stimulation of prefrontal regions, and of a standard figure-8 coil, were measured in a head model filled with physiologic saline solution.


With stimulator output at 120% of the hand motor threshold, suprathreshold field is induced by the H1-coil at lateral and medial frontal regions at depths of up to 4 to 5 cm, and by the H2-coil at medial prefrontal regions up to 2 to 3 cm, and at lateral frontal regions up to 5 to 6 cm. The figure-8 coil induced suprathreshold field focally under the coil’s central segment, at depths of up to 1.5 cm.


The ability of the H-coils to stimulate effectively deeper neuronal structures is obtained at the cost of a wider electrical field distribution in the brain. However, the H-coils enable simultaneous stimulation of several brain regions, whereas the depth penetration in each region can be controlled either by adjusting the stimulator output, and/or by varying the distance between various coil elements and the skull.

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