Magnetic field stimulation: the brain as a conductor

Kent Davey

in Oxford Handbook of Transcranial Stimulation

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780198568926
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744013 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Magnetic field stimulation: the brain as a conductor

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  • Neuropsychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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For the purposes of magnetic stimulation, the brain can be treated as a homogeneous conductor. A properly designed brain stimulation system starts with the target stimulation depth, and it should incorporate the neural strength–duration response characteristics. Higher-frequency pulses require stronger electric fields. The background of this article is the theoretical base determining, where in the brain TMS induces electrical activity, and whether this shifts as a function of differences in the conductivity and organization of gray matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid. The use of strong electric fields to treat many neurological disorders is well established. Both in the treatment of incontinence and clinical depression, the electric field should be sufficiently strong to initiate an action potential. The frequency, system voltage, capacitance, core stimulator size, and number of turns are treated as unknowns in a TMS stimulation design. This article presents the possible topological changes to be considered in the future.

Keywords: magnetic stimulation; conductor; brain stimulation system; neural strength; neurological disorders; TMS stimulation design

Article.  5728 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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