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Brain Stimul. 2010 Jan;3(1):2-14. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2009.04.001.

Brain responses evoked by high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation: an event-related potential study.

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Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.



Many recent studies have used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to study brain-behavior relationships. However, the pulse-to-pulse neural effects of rapid delivery of multiple TMS pulses are unknown largely because of TMS-evoked electrical artifacts limiting recording of brain activity.ObjectiveIn this study, TMS-related artifacts were removed with independent component analysis (ICA), which allowed for the investigation of the neurophysiologic effects of rTMS with simultaneous electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings.


Repetitive TMS trains of 10 Hz, 3 seconds (110% of motor threshold) were delivered to the postcentral gyrus and superior parietal lobule in 16 young adults. Simultaneous EEG recordings were made with a TMS-compatible system. The stereotypical pattern of TMS-related electrical artifacts was identified by ICA.


Removal of artifacts allowed for identification of a series of five evoked brain potentials occurring within 100 milliseconds of each TMS pulse. With the exception of the first potential, for both areas targeted, there was a quadratic relationship between potential peak amplitude and pulse number within the TMS train. This was characterized by a decrease, followed by a rise in amplitude.


ICA is an effective method for removal of TMS-evoked electrical artifacts in EEG data. With the use of this procedure we found that the physiologic responses to TMS pulses delivered in a high-frequency train of pulses are not independent. The sensitivity of the magnitude of these responses to recent stimulation history suggests a complex recruitment of multiple neuronal events with different temporal dynamics.


EEG; ERP; electroencephalography; independent component analysis; rTMS; transcranial magnetic stimulation

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