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    ABSTRACT: Objective. We present a computational method that implements a reduced set of Maxwell's equations to allow simulation of cells under realistic conditions: sub-micron cell morphology, a conductive non-homogeneous space and various ion channel properties and distributions. Approach. While a reduced set of Maxwell's equations can be used to couple membrane currents to extra- and intracellular potentials, this approach is rarely taken, most likely because adequate computational tools are missing. By using these equations, and introducing an implicit solver, numerical stability is attained even with large time steps. The time steps are limited only by the time development of the membrane potentials. Main results. This method allows simulation times of tens of minutes instead of weeks, even for complex problems. The extracellular fields are accurately represented, including secondary fields, which originate at inhomogeneities of the extracellular space and can reach several millivolts. We present a set of instructive examples that show how this method can be used to obtain reference solutions for problems, which might not be accurately captured by the traditional approaches. This includes the simulation of realistic magnitudes of extracellular action potential signals in restricted extracellular space. Significance. The electric activity of neurons creates extracellular potentials. Recent findings show that these endogenous fields act back onto the neurons, contributing to the synchronization of population activity. The influence of endogenous fields is also relevant for understanding therapeutic approaches such as transcranial direct current, transcranial magnetic and deep brain stimulation. The mutual interaction between fields and membrane currents is not captured by today's concepts of cellular electrophysiology, including the commonly used activation function, as those concepts are based on isolated membranes in an infinite, isopotential extracellular space. The presented tool makes simulations with detailed morphology and implicit interactions of currents and fields available to the electrophysiology community.
    Journal of Neural Engineering 03/2013; 10(2):026019. DOI:10.1088/1741-2560/10/2/026019
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    ABSTRACT: Magnetic seizure therapy (MST) is a novel neurotherapeutic intervention in development for the treatment of major affective disorders. Like other neurotherapeutic strategies such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a primary interest will be to monitor the associated neurocognitive effects. Thus, the purpose of this systematic review was to synthesize the available data on the neurocognitive effects of MST. The authors performed two independent literature searches with the following terms terms: MST, magnetic, magnetic seizure therapy, depression, neurocognition, cognitive, preclinical. We included in this review a total of eleven articles that mentioned MST and neurocognition in the abstract. The articles were divided into three methodological domains that included virtual computer simulations, preclinical studies, and clinical investigations. Collectively, the available evidence suggests MST has little to no adverse cognitive effects. Specifically, virtual computer simulations found the magnetic field was localized to grey matter, and preclinical studies found no neurocortical or neurocognitive sequelae. Clinical investigations found MST to be associated with rapid reorientation and intact anterograde and retrograde memory. Future investigations using translational methods are warranted to confirm these findings and to further determine the effects of MST on neurocognitive functions.
    International Review of Psychiatry 10/2011; 23(5):413-23. DOI:10.3109/09540261.2011.623687
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    ABSTRACT: Since its commercial advent in 1985, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a technique for stimulating neurons in the cerebral cortex through the scalp, safely and with minimal discomfort, has captured the imaginations of scientists, clinicians and lay observers. Initially a laboratory tool for neurophysiologists studying the human motor system, TMS now has a growing list of applications in clinical and basic neuroscience. Although we understand many of its effects at the system level, detailed knowledge of its actions, particularly as a modulator of neural activity, has lagged, due mainly to the lack of suitable non-human models. Nevertheless, these gaps have not blocked the therapeutic application of TMS in brain disorders. Moderate success has been achieved in treating disorders such as depression, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared a TMS system for therapeutic use. In addition, there are small, but promising, bodies of data on the treatment of schizophrenic auditory hallucinations, tinnitus, anxiety disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, hemiparesis, and pain syndromes. Some other nascent areas of study also exist. While the fate of TMS as a therapeutic modality depends on continued innovation and experimentation, economic and other factors may be decisive.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 09/2011; 133(1):98-107. DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.09.003