Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a unique method in neuroscience used to stimulate focal regions of the human brain. As TMS gains popularity in experimental and clinical domains, techniques for controlling the extent of brain stimulation are becoming increasingly important. At present, TMS intensity is typically calibrated to the excitability of the human motor cortex, a measure referred to as motor threshold (MT). Although TMS is commonly applied to nonmotor regions, most applications do not consider the effect of changes in distance between the stimulating device and underlying neural tissue. Here we show that for every millimeter from the stimulating coil, an additional 3% of TMS output is required to induce an equivalent level of brain stimulation at the motor cortex. This abrupt spatial gradient will have crucial consequences when TMS is applied to nonmotor regions because of substantial variance in scalp-cortex distances over different regions of the head. Stimulation protocols that do not account for cortical distance therefore risk substantial under- or overstimulation. We describe a simple method for adjusting MT to account for variations in cortical distance, thus providing a more accurate calibration than unadjusted MT for the safe and effective application of TMS in clinical and experimental neuroscience.

Original publication

DOI

10.1152/jn.00067.2005

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Neurophysiol

Publication Date

12/2005

Volume

94

Pages

4520 - 4527

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Brain Mapping, Calibration, Electromagnetic Fields, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Male, Motor Cortex, Scalp, Sensory Thresholds, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation