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Interindividual variability of electric fields during transcranial temporal interference stimulation (tTIS)

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  • Jill von Conta
  • Florian H Kasten
  • Branislava Ćurčić-Blake
  • André Aleman
  • Axel Thielscher
  • Christoph S Herrmann
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Transcranial temporal interference stimulation (tTIS) is a novel non-invasive brain stimulation technique for electrical stimulation of neurons at depth. Deep brain regions are generally small in size, making precise targeting a necessity. The variability of electric fields across individual subjects resulting from the same tTIS montages is unknown so far and may be of major concern for precise tTIS targeting. Therefore, the aim of the current study is to investigate the variability of the electric fields due to tTIS across 25 subjects. To this end, the electric fields of different electrode montages consisting of two electrode pairs with different center frequencies were simulated in order to target selected regions-of-interest (ROIs) with tTIS. Moreover, we set out to compare the electric fields of tTIS with the electric fields of conventional tACS. The latter were also based on two electrode pairs, which, however, were driven in phase at a common frequency. Our results showed that the electric field strengths inside the ROIs (left hippocampus, left motor area and thalamus) during tTIS are variable on single subject level. In addition, tTIS stimulates more focally as compared to tACS with much weaker co-stimulation of cortical areas close to the stimulation electrodes. Electric fields inside the ROI were, however, comparable for both methods. Overall, our results emphasize the potential benefits of tTIS for the stimulation of deep targets, over conventional tACS. However, they also indicate a need for individualized stimulation montages to leverage the method to its fullest potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20357
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

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