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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:5376-9. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6347209.

An automated method for high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation modeling.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, City College of the City University of New York , New York, NY 10031, USA.


Targeted transcranial stimulation with electric currents requires accurate models of the current flow from scalp electrodes to the human brain. Idiosyncratic anatomy of individual brains and heads leads to significant variability in such current flows across subjects, thus, necessitating accurate individualized head models. Here we report on an automated processing chain that computes current distributions in the head starting from a structural magnetic resonance image (MRI). The main purpose of automating this process is to reduce the substantial effort currently required for manual segmentation, electrode placement, and solving of finite element models. In doing so, several weeks of manual labor were reduced to no more than 4 hours of computation time and minimal user interaction, while current-flow results for the automated method deviated by less than 27.9% from the manual method. Key facilitating factors are the addition of three tissue types (skull, scalp and air) to a state-of-the-art automated segmentation process, morphological processing to correct small but important segmentation errors, and automated placement of small electrodes based on easily reproducible standard electrode configurations. We anticipate that such an automated processing will become an indispensable tool to individualize transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) therapy.

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