Focusing and targeting of magnetic brain stimulation using multiple coils



Neurones can be excited by an externally applied time-varying electromagnetic field. Focused magnetic brain stimulation is attained using multiple small coils instead of one large coil, the resultant induced electric field being a superposition of the fields from each coil. In multichannel magnetic brain stimulation, partial cancellation of fields from individual coils provides a significant improvement in the focusing of the stimulating field, and independent coil channels allow targeting of the stimuli on a given spot without moving the coils. The problem of shaping the stimulating field in multichannel stimulation is analysed, and a method is derived that yields the driving currents required to induce a field with a user-defined shape. The formulation makes use of lead fields and minimumnorm estimation from magneto-encephalography. Using these methods, some properties of multichannel coil arrays are examined. Computer-assisted multichannel stimulation of the cortex will enable several new studies, including quick determination of the cortical regions, the stimulation of which disrupts cortical processing required by a task.


Coil arrays Lead fields Minimum-norm estimation Multichannel magnetic stimulation Reciprocity Stereotactic targeting 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BioMag Laboratory, Medical Engineering CentreHelsinki University Central HospitalHYKSFinland

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