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TMS has become a powerful tool to explore cortical function, and in parallel has proven promising in the development of therapies for various psychiatric and neurological disorders. Unfortunately, much of the inference of the direct effects of TMS has been assumed to be limited to the area a few centimeters beneath the scalp, though clearly more distant regions are likely to be influenced by structurally connected stimulation sites. In this study, we sought to develop a novel paradigm to individualize TMS coil placement to non-invasively achieve activation of specific deep brain targets of relevance to the treatment of psychiatric disorders. In ten subjects, structural diffusion imaging tractography data were used to identify an accessible cortical target in the right frontal pole that demonstrated both anatomic and functional connectivity to right Brodmann area 25 (BA25). Concurrent TMS-fMRI interleaving was used with a series of single, interleaved TMS pulses applied to the right frontal pole at four intensity levels ranging from 80% to 140% of motor threshold. In nine of ten subjects, TMS to the individualized frontal pole sites resulted in significant linear increase in BOLD activation of BA25 with increasing TMS intensity. The reliable activation of BA25 in a dosage-dependent manner suggests the possibility that the careful combination of imaging with TMS can make use of network properties to help overcome depth limitations and allow noninvasive brain stimulation to influence deep brain structures.
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... (2) Small sample size. Although, small sample size on simultaneous TMS-fMRI studies is not uncommon, and have proofed to find meaningful findings (Ruff et al., 2008;de Weijer et al., 2014;Hawco et al., 2017;Navarro de Lara et al., 2017;Dowdle et al., 2018;Vink et al., 2018;Luber et al., 2022), it still may represent a limitation on this study. Therefore, besides choosing an analysis streamline that minimize, as much as possible, the excessive use of the data, we focus our discussion on the results from ROI analysis defined by ICA, instead of the GLM (voxelwise analysis) results, which provided very few significant activation clusters as shown on Figure 4. Consequently, while findings from this work should be considered preliminary, given the small to moderate sample size, some interesting hypotheses (as described above) were generated based on our current findings. ...
The positive treatment outcomes of low frequency (LF) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) when applied over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in treatment-refractory depression has been verified. However, the mechanism of action behind these results have not been well-explored. In this work we used simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during TMS to explore the effect of LF rTMS on brain activity when applied to the right [RDLPFC1 (MNI: 50, 30, 36)] and left DLPFC sites [LDLPFC1 (MNI: -50, 30, 36), LDLPFC2 (MNI: -41, 16, 54)]. Seventeen healthy adult volunteers participated in this study. To identify brain areas affected by rTMS, an independent component analysis and a general linear model were used. Our results showed an important laterality effect when contrasting rTMS over the left and right sites. Specifically, LF rTMS increased brain activity at the striatum, thalamus, and areas of the default mode network when applied to the right, but not to the contralateral left DLPFC. In contrast, no site differences were observed when evaluating the effect of LF rTMS over the two left sites. These findings demonstrate that LF rTMS to the right DLPFC was able to stimulate the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical pathway, which is dysregulated in patients with major depressive disorder; therefore, possibly providing some neurobiological justification for the successful outcomes found thus far for LF rTMS in the treatment of depression.
... Recent studies have demonstrated the downstream effects from rTMS stimulation on deep brain structures and showed the clinical efficacy of indirectly targeting sub-cortical brain regions (like subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC)) by stimulating the cortical brain areas (like DLPFC) ( R.F. Cash et al., 2021 ;Cash et al., 2019 ;Luber et al., 2022 ). Those findings support the feasibility of utilizing our personalized rTMS technique to better modulate the cortical and sub-cortical brain areas such as the sgACC, which are known associated with the depression pathology, to further maximize the treatment efficacy. ...
Brain neuromodulation effectively treats neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders such as Depression. However, due to patient heterogeneity, neuromodulation treatment outcomes are often highly variable, requiring patient-specific stimulation protocols throughout the recovery stages to optimize treatment outcomes. Therefore, it is critical to personalize neuromodulation protocol to optimize the patient-specific stimulation targets and parameters by accommodating inherent interpatient variability and intersession alteration during treatments. The study aims to develop a personalized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol and evaluate its feasibility in optimizing the treatment efficiency using an existing dataset from an antidepressant experimental imaging study in depression. The personalization of the rTMS treatment protocol was achieved by personalizing both stimulation targets and parameters via a novel approach integrating the functional brain network controllability analysis and optimal control analysis. First, the functional brain network controllability analysis was performed to identify the optimal rTMS stimulation target from the effective connectivity network constructed from patient-specific resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data. The optimal control algorithm was then applied to optimize the rTMS stimulation parameters based on the optimized target. The performance of the proposed personalized rTMS technique was evaluated using datasets collected from a longitudinal antidepressant experimental imaging study in depression (n = 20). Simulation models demonstrated that the proposed personalized rTMS protocol outperformed the standard rTMS treatment by efficiently steering a depressive resting brain state to a healthy resting brain state, indicated by the significantly less control energy needed and higher model fitting accuracy achieved. The node with the maximum average controllability of each patient was designated as the optimal target region for the personalized rTMS protocol. Our results also demonstrated the theoretical feasibility of achieving comparable neuromodulation efficacy by stimulating a single node compared to stimulating multiple driver nodes. The findings support the feasibility of developing personalized neuromodulation protocols to more efficiently treat depression and other neurological diseases.
... This way, one could test the efficacy of numerous DBS contact locations, with the hypothesis being that greater symptom improvement will be seen for contacts with connectivity profile best matching the LNM circuits. For noninvasive brain stimulation, direct stimulation of an LNM network can be tested if LNM identifies a hub within a cortical location  but in order to target subcortical circuits, one would need to apply stimulation to cortical sites that are most connected to subcortical LNM hubs . ...
Purpose of review:
Focal lesions causing specific neurological or psychiatric symptoms can occur in multiple different brain locations, complicating symptom localization. Here, we review lesion network mapping, a technique used to aid localization by mapping lesion-induced symptoms to brain circuits rather than individual brain regions. We highlight recent examples of how this technique is being used to investigate clinical entities and identify therapeutic targets.
To date, lesion network mapping has successfully been applied to more than 40 different symptoms or symptom complexes. In each case, lesion locations were combined with an atlas of human brain connections (the human connectome) to map heterogeneous lesion locations causing the same symptom to a common brain circuit. This approach has lent insight into symptoms that have been difficult to localize using other techniques, such as hallucinations, tics, blindsight, and pathological laughter and crying. Further, lesion network mapping has recently been applied to lesions that improve symptoms, such as tremor and addiction, which may translate into new therapeutic targets.
Lesion network mapping can be used to map lesion-induced symptoms to brain circuits rather than single brain regions. Recent findings have provided insight into long-standing clinical mysteries and identified testable treatment targets for circuit-based and symptom-based neuromodulation.
... 2 As our goal was to explore the hypothesis of single-neuron demodulation of TIS, we did not include synaptic 3 connections between neurons, and network modulation could be a potential mechanism for TIS. While network 4 activation can be advantageous and exploited to reach deep targets or to improve stimulation efficacy, for example 5 using TMS to modulate the hippocampus, midbrain, or subgenual cingulate by stimulating functionally-connected 6 cortical areas , it could also be considered a limiting factor on the focality of transcranial stimulation 7 methods, including TIS. For example, Grossman et al.  used c-Fos immunochemistry to demonstrate activation 8 of the hippocampus without activating superficial cortical areas, with strong c-Fos immunoreactivity in the entire 9 region of granule cells within the dentate gyrus. ...
Temporal interference stimulation (TIS) was proposed as a non-invasive, focal, and steerable deep brain stimulation method. However, the mechanisms underlying experimentally-observed suprathreshold TIS effects are unknown, and prior simulation studies had limitations in the representations of the TIS electric field (E-field) and cerebral neurons. We examined the E-field and neural response characteristics for TIS and related transcranial alternating current stimulation modalities.
We simulated a range of stimulation parameters in cortical neurons, including different orientations, frequencies, amplitude ratios, amplitude modulation, and phase difference of the E-fields, and obtained thresholds for both activation and conduction block.
Where the two E-fields had similar amplitudes, typically at the target region, TIS generated an amplitude-modulated total E-field. Due to the phase difference of the individual E-fields, the total TIS E-field vector also exhibited rotation where the orientations of the two E-fields were not aligned, which generally occurs at the target region. TIS activation thresholds (75–230 V/m) were similar to high-frequency stimulation with or without modulation and/or rotation. Outside the target region, the TIS E-field was dominated by the high-frequency carrier, with minimal amplitude modulation and/or rotation, and it was less effective at activation and more effective at block. Unlike amplitude-modulated high-frequency stimulation, TIS generated conduction block with some orientations and amplitude ratios of individual E-field at very high amplitudes of the total E-field (>1700 V/m).
The complex 3D properties of the TIS E-fields should be accounted for in computational and experimental studies. The mechanisms of suprathreshold cortical TIS appear to involve neural activity block and periodic activation or onset response, consistent with computational studies of peripheral axons. These phenomena occur at E-field strengths too high to be delivered tolerably through scalp electrodes and may inhibit endogenous activity in off-target regions, suggesting limited significance of suprathreshold TIS.
Compulsive behaviors are central to addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder and can be understood as a failure of adaptive decision-making. Particularly, they can be conceptualized as an imbalance in behavioral control, such that behavior is guided predominantly by learned rather than inferred outcome expectations. Inference is a computational process required for adaptive behavior, and recent work across species has identified the neural circuitry that support inference-based decision-making. This includes the orbitofrontal cortex, which has long been implicated in disorders of compulsive behavior. Inspired by evidence that modulating orbitofrontal cortex activity can alter inference-based behaviors, here we discuss non-invasive approaches to target these circuits in humans. Specifically, we discuss the potential of network-targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation and real-time neurofeedback to modulate the neural underpinnings of inference. Both interventions leverage recent advances in our understanding of the neurocomputational mechanisms of inference-based behavior and may be used to complement current treatment approaches for behavioral disorders.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is an established treatment for refractory depression, however, therapeutic outcomes vary. Mounting evidence suggests that clinical response relates to functional connectivity with the subgenual cingulate cortex (SGC) at the precise DLPFC stimulation site. Critically, SGC-related network architecture shows considerable interindividual variation across the spatial extent of the DLPFC, indicating that connectivity-based target personalization could potentially be necessary to improve treatment outcomes. However, to date accurate personalization has not appeared feasible, with recent work indicating that the intraindividual reproducibility of optimal targets is limited to 3.5 cm. Here we developed reliable and accurate methodologies to compute individualized connectivity-guided stimulation targets. In resting-state functional MRI scans acquired across 1,000 healthy adults, we demonstrate that, using this approach, personalized targets can be reliably and robustly pinpointed, with a median accuracy of ~2 mm between scans repeated across separate days. These targets remained highly stable, even after 1 year, with a median intraindividual distance between coordinates of only 2.7 mm. Interindividual spatial variation in personalized targets exceeded intraindividual variation by a factor of up to 6.85, suggesting that personalized targets did not trivially converge to a group-average site. Moreover, personalized targets were heritable, suggesting that connectivity-guided rTMS personalization is stable over time and under genetic control. This computational framework provides capacity for personalized connectivity-guided TMS targets to be robustly computed with high precision and has the flexibly to advance research in other basic research and clinical applications.
Structure–function relationships are a fundamental principle of many naturally occurring systems. However, network neuroscience research suggests that there is an imperfect link between structural connectivity and functional connectivity in the brain. Here, we synthesize the current state of knowledge linking structure and function in macroscale brain networks and discuss the different types of models used to assess this relationship. We argue that current models do not include the requisite biological detail to completely predict function. Structural network reconstructions enriched with local molecular and cellular metadata, in concert with more nuanced representations of functions and properties, hold great potential for a truly multiscale understanding of the structure–function relationship.
Hyperactivity in the subgenual cingulate cortex (SGC) is associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and anticorrelated with activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). This association was found to be predictive of responsiveness to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment. Such findings suggest that DLPFC-SGC connectivity is important for understanding both the therapeutic mechanism of rTMS in patients with MDD and the underlying pathophysiology of MDD.
To evaluate SGC hyperactivity in patients with MDD before and after rTMS treatment.
Design, Setting, and Participants
In this diagnostic study, among participants recruited from the adult and geriatric mood and anxiety services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who had participated in a randomized clinical trial, baseline SGC activity of patients with MDD was compared with healthy controls. In patients with MDD, SGC activity was compared before and after active or sham high-frequency rTMS treatment. Data collection started in July 2008 and concluded in March 2012. Neurophysiological data analysis started in January 2017 and ended in May 2018.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Hyperactivity in the SGC before and after rTMS treatment was measured. Subgenual cingulate cortex hyperactivity activity was quantified using significant current density (SCD), and effective connectivity between the left DLPFC and SGC was computed using significant current scattering (SCS). Both measures were computed around TMS evoked potentials standard peak latencies prior to rTMS and after rTMS treatment, comparing patients with MMD treated with active and sham rTMS. Patients with MDD were assessed with the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression.
Of 121 patients with MDD in the initial trial, 30 (15 [50.0%] women) were compared with 30 healthy controls (15 [50.0%] women) at rTMS treatment baseline. The mean (SD) age of the cohort with MDD was 39.1 (10.9) years, and the mean (SD) age of healthy controls was 37.0 (11.0) years. Following rTMS treatment, 26 patients with MDD who had active rTMS treatment (21.5%) were compared with 17 patients with MDD who had sham treatment (14.0%). At baseline, the SGC mean (SD) SCD and mean (SD) SCS at 200 milliseconds after TMS pulse were higher in participants with MDD compared with healthy controls (SCD: 1.04 × 10⁻⁶ [1.41 × 10⁻⁶] μA/mm² vs 3.8 × 10⁻⁷ [7.8 × 10⁻⁷] μA/mm²; z = –2.95; P = .004; SCS: 0.87 [0.86] mm vs 0.54 [0.87] mm; z = –2.27; P = .02). Baseline source current density was able to classify MDD with 77% accuracy. Scores on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression were correlated with current density at the SGC (ρ = 0.41; P = .03). After rTMS treatment, SGC mean (SD) SCD and mean (SD) SCS at 200 milliseconds after rTMS pulse were attenuated to approximately the standard TMS-evoked potential latencies in the active rTMS group compared with the sham rTMS group (SCD: 1.57 × 10⁻⁷ [3.67 × 10⁻⁷] μA/mm² vs 7.00 × 10⁻⁷ [7.51 × 10⁻⁷] μA/mm²; z = −2.91; P = .004; SCS: 0.20 [0.44] mm vs 0.74 [0.73] mm; z = −2.78; P = .006). Additionally, the SGC SCS change was correlated with symptom improvement on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression in the active rTMS group (ρ = 0.58; P = .047).
Conclusions and Relevance
The findings of this study further implicate left DLPFC-SGC effective connectivity and SGC excitability in the pathophysiology of MDD and treatment with rTMS. These findings suggest that DLPFC-SGC connectivity may be a marker of rTMS treatment responsiveness.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01515215
Working memory is the ability to perform mental operations on information that is stored in a flexible, limited capacity buffer. The ability to manipulate information in working memory is central to many aspects of human cognition, but also declines with healthy aging. Given the profound importance of such working memory manipulation abilities, there is a concerted effort towards developing approaches to improve them. The current study tested the capacity to enhance working memory manipulation with online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in healthy young and older adults. Online high frequency (5Hz) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to test the hypothesis that active repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation would lead to significant improvements in memory recall accuracy compared to sham stimulation, and that these effects would be most pronounced in working memory manipulation conditions with the highest cognitive demand in both young and older adults. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied while participants were performing a delayed response alphabetization task with three individually-titrated levels of difficulty. The left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was identified by combining electric field modeling to individualized functional magnetic resonance imaging activation maps and was targeted during the experiment using stereotactic neuronavigation with real-time robotic guidance, allowing optimal coil placement during the stimulation. As no accuracy differences were found between young and older adults, the results from both groups were collapsed. Subsequent analyses revealed that active stimulation significantly increased accuracy relative to sham stimulation, but only for the hardest condition. These results point towards further investigation of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for memory enhancement focusing on high difficulty conditions as those most likely to exhibit benefits.
Brain stimulation is used clinically to treat a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions. The mechanisms of the clinical effects of these brain-based therapies are presumably dependent on their effects on brain networks. It has been hypothesized that using individualized brain network maps is an optimal strategy for defining network boundaries and topologies. Traditional non-invasive imaging can determine correlations between structural or functional time series. However, they cannot easily establish hierarchies in communication flow as done in non-human animals using invasive methods. In the present study, we interleaved functional MRI recordings with non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation in the attempt to map causal communication between the prefrontal cortex and two subcortical structures thought to contribute to affective dysregulation: the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) and the amygdala. In both cases, we found evidence that these brain areas were engaged when TMS was applied to prefrontal sites determined from each participant's previous fMRI scan. Specifically, after transforming individual participant images to within-scan quantiles of evoked TMS response, we modeled the average quantile response within a given region across stimulation sites and individuals to demonstrate that the targets were differentially influenced by TMS. Furthermore, we found that the sgACC distributed brain network, estimated in a separate cohort, was engaged in response to sgACC focused TMS and was partially separable from the proximal default mode network response. The amygdala, but not its distributed network, responded to TMS. Our findings indicate that individual targeting and brain response measurements usefully capture causal circuit mapping to the sgACC and amygdala in humans, setting the stage for approaches to non-invasively modulate subcortical nodes of distributed brain networks in clinical interventions and mechanistic human neuroscience studies.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a severe mental disorder associated with high morbidity and mortality rates, which remains difficult to treat, as both resistance and recurrence rates are high. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) provides a safe and effective treatment for selected patients with treatment‐resistant MDD. Little is known about the mechanisms of action of TMS provided to the left DLPFC in MDD and we can currently not predict who will respond to this type of treatment, precluding effective patient selection. In order to shed some light on the mechanism of action, we applied single pulse TMS to the left DLPFC in 10 healthy participants using a unique TMS‐fMRI set‐up, in which we could record the direct effects of TMS. Stimulation of the DLPFC triggered activity in a number of connected brain regions, including the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) in four out of nine participants. The sgACC is of particular interest, because normalization of activity in this region has been associated with relief of depressive symptoms in MDD patients. This is the first direct evidence that TMS pulses delivered to the DLPFC can propagate to the sgACC. The propagation of TMS‐induced activity from the DLPFC to sgACC may be an accurate biomarker for rTMS efficacy. Further research is required to determine whether this method can contribute to the selection of patients with treatment resistant MDD who will respond to rTMS treatment.
Brain stimulation technologies have seen increasing application in basic science investigations, specifically toward the goal of improving memory function. However, proposals concerning the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive enhancement often rely on simplified notions of excitation. As a result, most applications examining the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on functional neuroimaging measures have been limited to univariate analyses of brain activity. We present here analyses using representational similarity analysis (RSA) and encoding-retrieval similarity (ERS) analysis to quantify the effect of TMS on memory representations. To test whether an increase in local excitability in PFC can have measurable influences on upstream representations in earlier temporal memory regions, we compared 1Hz and 5Hz stimulation to the left dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC). We found that 5Hz rTMS, relative to 1Hz, had multiple effects on neural representations: 1) greater representational similarity during both encoding and retrieval in ventral stream regions, 2) greater ERS in the hippocampus, and, critically, 3) increasing ERS in MTL was correlated with increasing univariate activity in DLPFC, and greater functional connectivity for hits than misses between these regions. These results provide the first evidence of rTMS modulating semantic representations and strengthen the idea that rTMS may affect the reinstatement of previously experienced events in upstream regions.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can stimulate cortical and subcortical brain regions. However, in order to reach subcortical targets, intact monosynaptic connections are required. The goal of this investigation was to evaluate the contribution of white matter integrity and gray matter volume to frontal pole TMS-evoked striatal activity in a large cohort of chronic cocaine users. 49 cocaine users received single pulses of TMS to the frontal pole while BOLD data were acquired - a technique known as interleaved TMS/fMRI. Diffusion tensor imaging and voxel-based morphometry were used to quantify white matter integrity and gray matter volume (GMV), respectively. Stepwise regression was used to evaluate the contribution of clinical and demographic variables to TMS-evoked BOLD. Consistent with previous studies, frontal pole TMS evoked activity in striatum and salience circuitry. The size of the TMS-evoked response was related to fractional anisotropy between the frontal pole and putamen and GMV in the left frontal pole and left ACC. This is the first study to demonstrate that the effect of TMS on subcortical activity is dependent upon the structural integrity of the brain. These data suggest that these structural neuroimaging data types are biomarkers for TMS-induced mobilization of the striatum.
The standard clinical technique for using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with limited efficacy to date. Such limited efficacy may be due to reliance on scalp-based targeting rather than state-of-the-science methods which incorporate fMRI-guided neuronavigation based on a specific model of neurocircuit dysfunction. In this review, we examine such a specific model drawn from regulatory focus theory, which postulates two brain/behavior systems, the promotion and prevention systems, underlying goal pursuit. Individual differences in these systems have been shown to predict vulnerability to MDD as well as to comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Activation of an individual's promotion or prevention goals via priming leads to motivational and affective responses modulated by the individual's appraisal of their progress in attaining the goal. In addition, priming promotion vs. prevention goals induces discriminable patterns of brain activation that are sensitive to the effects of depression and anxiety: MDD is associated with promotion system failure, anhedonic/dysphoric symptoms, and hypoactivation in specific regions in left prefrontal cortex, whereas GAD is associated with prevention system failure, hypervigilant/agitated symptoms, and hyperactivation in right prefrontal cortex (PFC). These left and right PFC locations can be directly targeted in an individualized manner for TMS. Additionally, this individually targeted rTMS can be integrated with cognitive interventions designed to activate the neural circuitry associated with promotion vs. prevention, thus allowing the neuroplasticity induced by the rTMS to benefit the systems likely to be involved in remediating depression. Targeted engagement of cortical systems involved in emotion regulation using individualized fMRI guidance may help increase the efficacy of rTMS in depression.
Ageing is characterized by declines on a variety of cognitive measures. These declines are often attributed to a general, unitary underlying cause, such as a reduction in executive function owing to atrophy of the prefrontal cortex. However, age-related changes are likely multifactorial, and the relationship between neural changes and cognitive measures is not well-understood. Here we address this in a large (N=567), population-based sample drawn from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) data. We relate fluid intelligence and multitasking to multiple brain measures, including grey matter in various prefrontal regions and white matter integrity connecting those regions. We show that multitasking and fluid intelligence are separable cognitive abilities, with differential sensitivities to age, which are mediated by distinct neural subsystems that show different prediction in older versus younger individuals. These results suggest that prefrontal ageing is a manifold process demanding multifaceted models of neurocognitive ageing.
Brain stimulation is a powerful treatment for an increasing number of psychiatric and neurological diseases, but it is unclear why certain stimulation sites work or where in the brain is the best place to stimulate to treat a given patient or disease. We found that although different types of brain stimulation are applied in different locations, targets used to treat the same disease most often are nodes in the same brain network. These results suggest that brain networks might be used to understand why brain stimulation works and to improve therapy by identifying the best places to stimulate the brain.
The influential notion that the hippocampus supports associative memory by interacting with functionally distinct and distributed
brain regions has not been directly tested in humans. We therefore used targeted noninvasive electromagnetic stimulation to
modulate human cortical-hippocampal networks and tested effects of this manipulation on memory. Multiple-session stimulation
increased functional connectivity among distributed cortical-hippocampal network regions and concomitantly improved associative
memory performance. These alterations involved localized long-term plasticity because increases were highly selective to the
targeted brain regions, and enhancements of connectivity and associative memory persisted for ~24 hours after stimulation.
Targeted cortical-hippocampal networks can thus be enhanced noninvasively, demonstrating their role in associative memory.
The midbrain lies deep within the brain and has an important role in reward, motivation, movement and the pathophysiology of
various neuropsychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression and addiction. To date, the primary
means of acting on this region has been with pharmacological interventions or implanted electrodes. Here we introduce a new
noninvasive brain stimulation technique that exploits the highly interconnected nature of the midbrain and prefrontal cortex to
stimulate deep brain regions. Using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the prefrontal cortex, we were able to
remotely activate the interconnected midbrain and cause increases in participants’ appraisals of facial attractiveness.
Participants with more enhanced prefrontal/midbrain connectivity following stimulation exhibited greater increases in
attractiveness ratings. These results illustrate that noninvasive direct stimulation of prefrontal cortex can induce neural activity
in the distally connected midbrain, which directly effects behavior. Furthermore, these results suggest that this tDCS protocol
could provide a promising approach to modulate midbrain functions that are disrupted in neuropsychiatric disorders.
The human frontal pole (FP) approximately corresponds to Brodmann's area 10 and is a highly differentiated cortical area with unique cytoarchitectonic characteristics. However, its functional diversity is highly suggestive of the existence of functional subregions. Based on anatomical connection patterns derived from diffusion tensor imaging data, we applied a spectral clustering algorithm to parcellate the human right FP into orbital (FPo), lateral (FPl), and medial (FPm) subregions. This parcellation scheme was validated by corresponding analyses of the left FP and right FP in another independent dataset. Both visual observation and quantitative comparison of the anatomical connection patterns of the three FP subregions revealed that the FPo showed greater connection probabilities to brain regions of the social emotion network (SEN), including the orbitofrontal cortex, temporal pole, and amygdala, the FPl showed stronger connections to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the cognitive processing network (CPN), and the FPm showed stronger connections to brain areas of the default mode network (DMN), including the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex. We further analyzed the resting-state functional connectivity patterns of the three FP subregions. Consistent with the findings of anatomical connection analyses, the FPo was functionally correlated with the SEN, the FPl was correlated with the CPN, and the FPm was correlated with the DMN. These findings suggest that the human FP includes three separable subregions with different anatomical and functional connectivity patterns and that these subregions are involved in different brain functional networks and serve different functions.
In brain mapping studies of sensory, cognitive, and motor operations, specific waveforms of dynamic neural activity are predicted based on theoretical models of human information processing. For example in event-related functional MRI (fMRI), the general linear model (GLM) is employed in mass-univariate analyses to identify the regions whose dynamic activity closely matches the expected waveforms. By comparison multivariate analyses based on PCA or ICA provide greater flexibility in detecting spatiotemporal properties of experimental data that may strongly support alternative neuroscientific explanations. We investigated conjoint multivariate and mass-univariate analyses that combine the capabilities to (1) verify activation of neural machinery we already understand and (2) discover reliable signatures of new neural machinery. We examined combinations of GLM and PCA that recover latent neural signals (waveforms and footprints) with greater accuracy than either method alone. Comparative results are illustrated with analyses of real fMRI data, adding to Monte Carlo simulation support.
Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is recruited during visual working memory (WM) when relevant information must be maintained in the presence of distracting information. The mechanism by which DLPFC might ensure successful maintenance of the contents of WM is, however, unclear; it might enhance neural maintenance of memory targets or suppress processing of distracters. To adjudicate between these possibilities, we applied time-locked transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) during functional MRI, an approach that permits causal assessment of a stimulated brain region's influence on connected brain regions, and evaluated how this influence may change under different task conditions. Participants performed a visual WM task requiring retention of visual stimuli (faces or houses) across a delay during which visual distracters could be present or absent. When distracters were present, they were always from the opposite stimulus category, so that targets and distracters were represented in distinct posterior cortical areas. We then measured whether DLPFC-TMS, administered in the delay at the time point when distracters could appear, would modulate posterior regions representing memory targets or distracters. We found that DLPFC-TMS influenced posterior areas only when distracters were present and, critically, that this influence consisted of increased activity in regions representing the current memory targets. DLPFC-TMS did not affect regions representing current distracters. These results provide a new line of causal evidence for a top-down DLPFC-based control mechanism that promotes successful maintenance of relevant information in WM in the presence of distraction.
Selective attention filters information to limit what is encoded and maintained in working memory. Although the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is central to both selective attention and working memory, the underlying neural processes that link these cognitive abilities remain elusive. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to guide repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation with electroencephalographic recordings in humans, we perturbed PFC function at the inferior frontal junction in participants before they performed a selective-attention, delayed-recognition task. This resulted in diminished top-down modulation of activity in posterior cortex during early encoding stages, which predicted a subsequent decrement in working memory accuracy. Participants with stronger fronto-posterior functional connectivity displayed greater disruptive effects. Our data further suggests that broad alpha-band (7-14 Hz) phase coherence subserved this long-distance top-down modulation. These results suggest that top-down modulation mediated by the prefrontal cortex is a causal link between early attentional processes and subsequent memory performance.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric illness that can lead to chronic functional impairment. Some patients with severe, chronic OCD have been treated with ablative neurosurgical techniques over the past 4 decades. More recently, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been investigated as a therapy for refractory OCD, and the procedure was granted a limited humanitarian device exemption by the FDA in 2009. In this article, the authors review the development of DBS for OCD, describe the current understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of the disorder and how the underlying neural circuits might be modulated by DBS, and discuss the clinical studies that provide evidence for the use of this evolving therapy. The authors conclude with suggestions for how a combined basic science and translational research approach could drive the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying OCD as well as the clinical effectiveness of DBS in the setting of recalcitrant disease.
Daily left prefrontal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been studied as a potential treatment for depression, but previous work had mixed outcomes and did not adequately mask sham conditions.
To test whether daily left prefrontal rTMS safely and effectively treats major depressive disorder.
Prospective, multisite, randomized, active sham-controlled (1:1 randomization), duration-adaptive design with 3 weeks of daily weekday treatment (fixed-dose phase) followed by continued blinded treatment for up to another 3 weeks in improvers.
Four US university hospital clinics.
Approximately 860 outpatients were screened, yielding 199 antidepressant drug-free patients with unipolar nonpsychotic major depressive disorder.
We delivered rTMS to the left prefrontal cortex at 120% motor threshold (10 Hz, 4-second train duration, and 26-second intertrain interval) for 37.5 minutes (3000 pulses per session) using a figure-eight solid-core coil. Sham rTMS used a similar coil with a metal insert blocking the magnetic field and scalp electrodes that delivered matched somatosensory sensations.
In the intention-to-treat sample (n = 190), remission rates were compared for the 2 treatment arms using logistic regression and controlling for site, treatment resistance, age, and duration of the current depressive episode.
Patients, treaters, and raters were effectively masked. Minimal adverse effects did not differ by treatment arm, with an 88% retention rate (90% sham and 86% active). Primary efficacy analysis revealed a significant effect of treatment on the proportion of remitters (14.1% active rTMS and 5.1% sham) (P = .02). The odds of attaining remission were 4.2 times greater with active rTMS than with sham (95% confidence interval, 1.32-13.24). The number needed to treat was 12. Most remitters had low antidepressant treatment resistance. Almost 30% of patients remitted in the open-label follow-up (30.2% originally active and 29.6% sham).
Daily left prefrontal rTMS as monotherapy produced statistically significant and clinically meaningful antidepressant therapeutic effects greater than sham.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00149838.
While traditionally quite distinct, functional neuroimaging (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging: fMRI) and functional interference techniques (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation: TMS) increasingly address similar questions of functional brain organization, including connectivity, interactions, and causality in the brain. Time-resolved TMS over multiple brain network nodes can elucidate the relative timings of functional relevance for behavior ("TMS chronometry"), while fMRI functional or effective connectivity (fMRI EC) can map task-specific interactions between brain regions based on the interrelation of measured signals. The current study empirically assessed the relation between these different methods.
One group of 15 participants took part in two experiments: one fMRI EC study, and one TMS chronometry study, both of which used an established cognitive paradigm involving one visuospatial judgment task and one color judgment control task. Granger causality mapping (GCM), a data-driven variant of fMRI EC analysis, revealed a frontal-to-parietal flow of information, from inferior/middle frontal gyrus (MFG) to posterior parietal cortex (PPC). FMRI EC-guided Neuronavigated TMS had behavioral effects when applied to both PPC and to MFG, but the temporal pattern of these effects was similar for both stimulation sites. At first glance, this would seem in contradiction to the fMRI EC results. However, we discuss how TMS chronometry and fMRI EC are conceptually different and show how they can be complementary and mutually constraining, rather than contradictory, on the basis of our data.
The findings that fMRI EC could successfully localize functionally relevant TMS target regions on the single subject level, and conversely, that TMS confirmed an fMRI EC identified functional network to be behaviorally relevant, have important methodological and theoretical implications. Our results, in combination with data from earlier studies by our group (Sack et al., 2007, Cerebral Cortex), lead to informed speculations on complex brain mechanisms, and TMS disruption thereof, underlying visuospatial judgment. This first in-depth empirical and conceptual comparison of fMRI EC and TMS chronometry thereby shows the complementary insights offered by the two methods.
Brain dopamine is implicated in the regulation of movement, attention, reward and learning and plays an important role in Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and drug addiction. Animal experiments have demonstrated that brain stimulation is able to induce significant dopaminergic changes in extrastriatal areas. Given the up-growing interest of non-invasive brain stimulation as potential tool for treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, it would be critical to investigate dopaminergic functional interactions in the prefrontal cortex and more in particular the effect of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) (areas 9/46) stimulation on prefrontal dopamine (DA).
Healthy volunteers were studied with a high-affinity DA D2-receptor radioligand, [(11)C]FLB 457-PET following 10 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the left and right DLPFC. rTMS on the left DLPFC induced a significant reduction in [(11)C]FLB 457 binding potential (BP) in the ipsilateral subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) (BA 25/12), pregenual ACC (BA 32) and medial orbitofrontal cortex (BA 11). There were no significant changes in [(11)C]FLB 457 BP following right DLPFC rTMS.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide evidence of extrastriatal DA modulation following acute rTMS of DLPFC with its effect limited to the specific areas of medial prefrontal cortex. [(11)C]FLB 457-PET combined with rTMS may allow to explore the neurochemical functions of specific cortical neural networks and help to identify the neurobiological effects of TMS for the treatment of different neurological and psychiatric diseases.
This review begins with a brief historical overview of attempts in the first half of the 20th century to discern brain systems that underlie emotion and emotional behavior. These early studies identified the amygdala, hippocampus, and other parts of what was termed the 'limbic' system as central parts of the emotional brain. Detailed connectional data on this system began to be obtained in the 1970s and 1980s, as more effective neuroanatomical techniques based on axonal transport became available. In the last 15 years these methods have been applied extensively to the limbic system and prefrontal cortex of monkeys, and much more specific circuits have been defined. In particular, a system has been described that links the medial prefrontal cortex and a few related cortical areas to the amygdala, the ventral striatum and pallidum, the medial thalamus, the hypothalamus, and the periaqueductal gray and other parts of the brainstem. A large body of human data from functional and structural imaging, as well as analysis of lesions and histological material indicates that this system is centrally involved in mood disorders.
Antidepressant outcomes to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) are better when stimulation is serendipitously delivered to sites of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) showing negative (anticorrelated) functional connectivity with the subgenual cingulate cortex (SGC).¹⁻³ This suggests treatment response might be improved via prospective connectivity-guided targeting. However, DLPFC connectivity varies considerably between individuals.⁴ A pertinent question is whether treatment response could be improved via a single one-site-fits-all DLPFC target, representing the group average optimal site of SGC functional connectivity, or, alternatively, whether target site personalization is necessary.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly prevalent condition and present first-line treatment options are inadequate. Among nonpharmacological treatment alternatives, noninvasive brain stimulation shows tremendous promise. There are two approved brain stimulation techniques for the treatment of MDD: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). The goal of this study is to quantify the induced electric field (E-field) at the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in a group of depressed patients. This study aimed to characterize the induced electric field distributions in a population of patients who received bilateral and/or unilateral electroconvulsive therapy and in a group of patients who received rTMS for the treatment of depression. We also investigated an alternative magnetic stimulation approach, using rotating permanent magnets.
Deep brain stimulation has been used for decades in neurology to treat movement disorders. More recent work has focused on developing applications for deep brain stimulation in psychiatric illness. Initial studies have demonstrated positive results for treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. Initial open-label studies of deep brain stimulation at targets for treatment-resistant depression have been encouraging. However, the only 2 published controlled trials that were conducted for potential FDA approval for treatment-resistant depression were both negative. Future directions include potential use of alternate clinical trial designs, using tractography for more refined deep brain stimulation electrode targeting, and closed-loop deep brain stimulation approaches.
In the 20 years since our group established the feasibility of performing interleaved TMS/fMRI, no studies have reported direct comparisons of active prefrontal stimulation with a matched sham. Thus, for all studies there is concern about what is truly the TMS effect on cortical neurons.
After developing a sham control for use within the MRI scanner, we used fMRI to test the hypothesis of greater regional BOLD responses for active versus control stimulation.
We delivered 4 runs of interleaved TMS/fMRI with a limited field of view (16 slices, centered at AC-PC) to the left DLPFC (2 active, 2 control; counterbalanced) of 20 healthy individuals (F3; 20 pulses/run, interpulse interval:10-15sec, TR:1sec). In the control condition, 3 cm of foam was placed between the TMS coil and the scalp. This ensured magnetic field decay, but preserved the sensory aspects of each pulse (empirically evaluated in a subset of 10 individuals).
BOLD increases in the cingulate, thalamus, insulae, and middle frontal gyri (p < 0.05, FWE corrected) were found during both active and control stimulation. However, relative to control, active stimulation caused elevated BOLD signal in the anterior cingulate, caudate and thalamus. No significant difference was found in auditory regions.
This TMS/fMRI study evaluated a control condition that preserved many of the sensory features of TMS while reducing magnetic field entry. These findings support a relationship between single pulses of TMS and activity in anatomically connected regions, but also underscore the importance of using a sham condition in future TMS/fMRI studies.
The optimal target in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) for treating depression with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) remains unknown. Better efficacy has been associated with stimulation sites that are 1) more anterior and lateral and 2) more functionally connected to the subgenual cingulate. Here we prospectively test whether these factors predict response in individual patients.
A primary cohort (Boston, N = 25) with medication-refractory depression underwent conventional open-label rTMS to the left DLPFC. A secondary cohort (Michigan, N = 16) underwent 4 weeks of sham followed by open label rTMS for non-responders (N = 12). In each patient, the location of the stimulation site was recorded with frameless stereotaxy. Connectivity between each patient’s stimulation site and the subgenual cingulate was assessed using resting state fcMRI from a cohort of healthy subjects (N = 1000), and confirmed using connectivity from depression patients (N = 38).
In our primary cohort, antidepressant efficacy was predicted by stimulation sites that were both more antero-lateral (r = .51, p < .01) and more negatively correlated with the subgenual cingulate (r = -.55, p < .005). However, subgenual connectivity was the only independent predictor of response and the only factor to predict response to active (r = -.52, p < .05) but not sham rTMS in our secondary cohort.
This study provides prospective validation that functional connectivity between an individual’s rTMS cortical target and the subgenual cingulate predicts antidepressant response. Implications for improving the cortical rTMS target for depression are discussed.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a powerful non-invasive technique for the modulation of brain activ- ity. While the precise mechanism of action is still unknown, TMS is applied in cognitive neuroscience to establish causal relationships between stimulation and subsequent changes in cerebral function and behavioral outcome. In addition, TMS is an FDA-approved therapeutic agent in psychiatric disorders, especially major depression. Suc- cessful repetitive TMS in such disorders is usually applied over the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and treatment response mechanism was therefore supposed to be based on modulations in functional networks, particularly the meso-cortico-limbic reward circuit. However, mechanistic evidence for the direct effects of rTMS over DLPFC is sparse. Here we show the speci city and temporal evolution of rTMS effects by comparing con- nectivity changes within 20 common independent components in a sham-controlled study. Using an unbiased whole-brain resting-state network (RSN) approach, we successfully demonstrate that stimulation of left DLPFC modulates anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) connectivity in one speci c meso-cortico-limbic network, while all other networks are neither in uenced by rTMS nor by sham treatment. The results of this study show that the neural correlates of TMS treatment response are also traceable in DLPFC stimulation of healthy brains and there- fore represent direct effects of the stimulation procedure.
Exposure therapy is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but many patients do not respond. Brain functions governing treatment outcome are not well characterized. The authors examined brain systems relevant to emotional reactivity and regulation, constructs that are thought to be central to PTSD and exposure therapy effects, to identify the functional traits of individuals most likely to benefit from treatment.
Individuals with PTSD underwent functional MRI (fMRI) while completing three tasks assessing emotional reactivity and regulation. Participants were then randomly assigned to immediate prolonged exposure treatment (N=36) or a waiting list condition (N=30). A random subset of the prolonged exposure group (N=17) underwent single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) concurrent with fMRI to examine whether predictive activation patterns reflect causal influence within circuits. Linear mixed-effects modeling in line with the intent-to-treat principle was used to examine how baseline brain function moderated the effect of treatment on PTSD symptoms.
At baseline, individuals with larger treatment-related symptom reductions (compared with the waiting list condition) demonstrated 1) greater dorsal prefrontal activation and 2) less left amygdala activation, both during emotion reactivity; 3) better inhibition of the left amygdala induced by single TMS pulses to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; and 4) greater ventromedial prefrontal/ventral striatal activation during emotional conflict regulation. Reappraisal-related activation was not a significant moderator of the treatment effect.
Capacity to benefit from prolonged exposure in PTSD is gated by the degree to which prefrontal resources are spontaneously engaged when superficially processing threat and adaptively mitigating emotional interference, but not when deliberately reducing negative emotionality.
Preclinical research has demonstrated a causal relationship between medial prefrontal cortex activity and cocaine self-administration. As a step towards translating those data to a neural circuit-based intervention for patients, this study sought to determine if continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) to the left frontal pole (FP), would attenuate frontal-striatal activity in two substance-dependent populations.
Forty-nine substance dependent individuals (25 cocaine, 24 alcohol) completed a single-blind, sham-controlled, crossover study wherein they received 6 trains of real or sham cTBS (110% resting motor threshold, FP1) each visit. Baseline evoked BOLD signal was measured immediately before and after real and sham cTBS (interleaved TMS/BOLD imaging: single pulses to left FP; scalp-to-cortex distance covariate, FWE correction p<0.05) RESULTS: Among cocaine users, real cTBS significantly decreased evoked BOLD signal in the caudate, accumbens, anterior cingulate, orbitofrontal (OFC) and parietal cortex relative to sham cTBS. Among alcohol users, real cTBS significantly decreased evoked BOLD signal in left OFC, insula, and lateral sensorimotor cortex. There was no significant difference between the groups.
These data suggest that 6 trains of left FP cTBS delivered in a single day decreases TMS-evoked BOLD signal in the OFC and several cortical nodes which regulate salience and are typically activated by drug cues. The reliability of this pattern across cocaine- and alcohol-dependent individuals suggests that cTBS may be an effective tool to dampen neural circuits typically engaged by salient drug cues. Multiday studies are required to determine it this has a sustainable effect on the brain or drug use behavior.
To validate a novel setup for concurrent TMS/fMRI in the human motor cortex based on a dedicated, ultra-thin, multichannel receive MR coil positioned between scalp and TMS system providing greatly enhanced sensitivity compared to the standard birdcage coil setting.
A combined TMS/fMRI design was applied over the primary motor cortex based on 1Hz stimulation with stimulation levels of 80%, 90%, 100%, and 110% of the individual active motor threshold, respectively. Due to the use of a multichannel receive coil we were able to use multiband-accelerated (MB=2) EPI sequences for the acquisition of functional images. Data were analysed with SPM12 and BOLD-weighted signal intensity time courses were extracted in each subject from two local maxima (individual functional finger tapping localiser, fixed MNI coordinate of the hand knob) next to the hand area of the primary motor cortex (M1) and from the global maximum.
We report excellent image quality without noticeable signal dropouts or image distortions. Parameter estimates in the three peak voxels showed monotonically ascending activation levels over increasing stimulation intensities. Across all subjects, mean BOLD signal changes for 80%, 90%, 100%, 110% of the individual active motor threshold were 0.43%, 0.63%, 1.01%, 2.01% next to the individual functional finger tapping maximum, 0.73%, 0.91%, 1.34%, 2.21% next to the MNI-defined hand knob and 0.88%, 1.09%, 1.65%, 2.77% for the global maximum, respectively.
Our results show that the new setup for concurrent TMS/fMRI experiments using a dedicated MR coil array allows for high-sensitivity fMRI particularly at the site of stimulation. Contrary to the standard birdcage approach, the results also demonstrate that the new coil can be successfully used for multiband-accelerated EPI acquisition. The gain in flexibility due to the new coil can be easily combined with neuronavigation within the MR scanner to allow for accurate targeting in TMS/fMRI experiments.
To explore the field characteristics and design tradeoffs of coils for deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS).
We simulated parametrically two dTMS coil designs on a spherical head model using the finite element method, and compare them with five commercial TMS coils, including two that are FDA approved for the treatment of depression (ferromagnetic-core figure-8 and H1 coil).
Smaller coils have a focality advantage over larger coils; however, this advantage diminishes with increasing target depth. Smaller coils have the disadvantage of producing stronger field in the superficial cortex and requiring more energy. When the coil dimensions are large relative to the head size, the electric field decay in depth becomes linear, indicating that, at best, the electric field attenuation is directly proportional to the depth of the target. Ferromagnetic cores improve electrical efficiency for targeting superficial brain areas; however magnetic saturation reduces the effectiveness of the core for deeper targets, especially for highly focal coils. Distancing winding segments from the head, as in the H1 coil, increases the required stimulation energy.
Among standard commercial coils, the double cone coil offers high energy efficiency and balance between stimulated volume and superficial field strength. Direct TMS of targets at depths of ∼4cm or more results in superficial stimulation strength that exceeds the upper limit in current rTMS safety guidelines. Approaching depths of ∼6cm is almost certainly unsafe considering the excessive superficial stimulation strength and activated brain volume.
Coil design limitations and tradeoffs are important for rational and safe exploration of dTMS.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is used clinically for the treatment of depression however outcomes vary greatly between patients. We have shown that average clinical efficacy of different left DLPFC TMS sites is related to intrinsic functional connectivity with remote regions including the subgenual cingulate and suggested that functional connectivity with these remote regions might be used to identify optimized left DLPFC targets for TMS. However it remains unclear if and how this connectivity-based targeting approach should be applied at the single-subject level to potentially individualize therapy to specific patients. In this article we show that individual differences in DLPFC connectivity are large, reproducible across sessions, and can be used to generate individualized DLPFC TMS targets that may prove clinically superior to those selected on the basis of group-average connectivity. Factors likely to improve individualized targeting including the use of seed maps and the focality of stimulation are investigated and discussed. The techniques presented here may be applicable to individualized targeting of focal brain stimulation across a range of diseases and stimulation modalities and can be experimentally tested in clinical trials.
MOTOR and visual cortices of normal volunteers were activated by transcranial magnetic stimulation. The electrical brain activity resulting from the brief electromagnetic pulse was recorded with high-resolution electroencephalography (HR-EEG) and located using inversion algorithms. The stimulation of the left sensorimotor hand area elicited an immediate response at the stimulated site. The activation had spread to adjacent ipsilateral motor areas within 5-10 ms and to homologous regions in the opposite hemisphere within 20 ms. Similar activation patterns were generated by magnetic stimulation of the visual cortex. This new non-invasive method provides direct information about cortical reactivity and area-to-area neuronal connections.
Few studies have examined the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in real-world clinical practice settings.
Forty-two US-based clinical TMS practice sites treated 307 outpatients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and persistent symptoms despite antidepressant pharmacotherapy. Treatment was based on the labeled procedures of the approved TMS device. Assessments were performed at baseline, week 2, at the point of maximal acute benefit, and at week 6 when the acute course extended beyond 6 weeks. The primary outcome was change in the Clinician Global Impressions-Severity of Illness from baseline to end of acute phase. Secondary outcomes were change in continuous and categorical outcomes on self-report depression scales (9-Item Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ-9], and Inventory of Depressive Symptoms-Self Report [IDS-SR]).
Patients had a mean ± SD age of 48.6 ± 14.2 years and 66.8% were female. Patients received an average of 2.5 (± 2.4) antidepressant treatments of adequate dose and duration without satisfactory improvement in this episode. There was a significant change in CGI-S from baseline to end of treatment (-1.9 ± 1.4, P < .0001). Clinician-assessed response rate (CGI-S) was 58.0% and remission rate was 37.1%. Patient-reported response rate ranged from 56.4 to 41.5% and remission rate ranged from 28.7 to 26.5%, (PHQ-9 and IDS-SR, respectively).
Outcomes demonstrated response and adherence rates similar to research populations. These data indicate that TMS is an effective treatment for those unable to benefit from initial antidepressant medication.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is used clinically for the treatment of depression. However, the antidepressant mechanism remains unknown and its therapeutic efficacy remains limited. Recent data suggest that some left DLPFC targets are more effective than others; however, the reasons for this heterogeneity and how to capitalize on this information remain unclear.
Intrinsic (resting state) functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 98 normal subjects were used to compute functional connectivity with various left DLPFC TMS targets employed in the literature. Differences in functional connectivity related to differences in previously reported clinical efficacy were identified. This information was translated into a connectivity-based targeting strategy to identify optimized left DLPFC TMS coordinates. Results in normal subjects were tested for reproducibility in an independent cohort of 13 patients with depression.
Differences in functional connectivity were related to previously reported differences in clinical efficacy across a distributed set of cortical and limbic regions. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex TMS sites with better clinical efficacy were more negatively correlated (anticorrelated) with the subgenual cingulate. Optimum connectivity-based stimulation coordinates were identified in Brodmann area 46. Results were reproducible in patients with depression.
Reported antidepressant efficacy of different left DLPFC TMS sites is related to the anticorrelation of each site with the subgenual cingulate, potentially lending insight into the antidepressant mechanism of TMS and suggesting a role for intrinsically anticorrelated networks in depression. These results can be translated into a connectivity-based targeting strategy for focal brain stimulation that might be used to optimize clinical response.
Various transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil designs are available or have been proposed. However, key coil characteristics such as electric field focality and attenuation in depth have not been adequately compared. Knowledge of the coil focality and depth characteristics can help TMS researchers and clinicians with coil selection and interpretation of TMS studies.
To quantify the electric field focality and depth of penetration of various TMS coils.
The electric field distributions induced by 50 TMS coils were simulated in a spherical human head model using the finite element method. For each coil design, we quantified the electric field penetration by the half-value depth, d(1/2), and focality by the tangential spread, S(1/2), defined as the half-value volume (V(1/2)) divided by the half-value depth, S(1/2) = V(1/2)/d(1/2).
The 50 TMS coils exhibit a wide range of electric field focality and depth, but all followed a depth-focality tradeoff: coils with larger half-value depth cannot be as focal as more superficial coils. The ranges of achievable d(1/2) are similar between coils producing circular and figure-8 electric field patterns, ranging 1.0-3.5 cm and 0.9-3.4 cm, respectively. However, figure-8 field coils are more focal, having S(1/2) as low as 5 cm(2) compared to 34 cm(2) for circular field coils.
For any coil design, the ability to directly stimulate deeper brain structures is obtained at the expense of inducing wider electrical field spread. Novel coil designs should be benchmarked against comparison coils with consistent metrics such as d(1/2) and S(1/2).
Simultaneous transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may advance the understanding of neurophysiological mechanisms of TMS. However, it remains unclear if TMS induces fMRI signal changes consistent with the standard hemodynamic response function (HRF) in both local and remote regions. To address this issue, we delivered single-pulse TMS to the left M1 during simultaneous recoding of electromyography and time-resolved fMRI in 36 healthy participants. First, we examined the time-course of fMRI signals during supra- and subthreshold single-pulse TMS in comparison with those during voluntary right hand movement and electrical stimulation to the right median nerve (MNS). All conditions yielded comparable time-courses of fMRI signals, showing that HRF would generally provide reasonable estimates for TMS-evoked activity in the motor areas. However, a clear undershoot following the signal peak was observed only during subthreshold TMS in the left M1, suggesting a small but meaningful difference between the locally and remotely TMS-evoked activities. Second, we compared the spatial distribution of activity across the conditions. Suprathreshold TMS-evoked activity overlapped not only with voluntary movement-related activity but also partially with MNS-induced activity, yielding overlapped areas of activity around the stimulated M1. The present study has provided the first experimental evidence that motor area activity during suprathreshold TMS likely includes activity for processing of muscle afferents. A method should be developed to control the effects of muscle afferents for fair interpretation of TMS-induced motor area activity during suprathreshold TMS to M1.
We present the first computational study comparing the electric field induced by various electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and magnetic seizure therapy (MST) paradigms. Four ECT electrode configurations (bilateral, bifrontal, right unilateral, and focal electrically administered seizure therapy) and three MST coil configurations (circular, cap, and double cone) were modeled. The model incorporated a modality-specific neural activation threshold. ECT (0.3 ms pulse width) and MST induced the maximum electric field of 2.1-2.5 V cm⁻¹ and 1.1-2.2 V cm⁻¹ in the brain, corresponding to 6.2-7.2 times and 1.2-2.3 times the neural activation threshold, respectively. The MST electric field is more confined to the superficial cortex compared to ECT. The brain volume stimulated was much larger with ECT (up to 100%) than with MST (up to 8.2%). MST with the double-cone coil was the most focal, and bilateral ECT was the least focal. Our results suggest a possible biophysical explanation of the reduced side effects of MST compared to ECT. Our results also indicate that the conventional ECT pulse amplitude (800-900 mA) is much higher than necessary for seizure induction. Reducing the ECT pulse amplitude should be explored as a potential means of diminishing side effects.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is one of the most important methods for in vivo investigation of cognitive processes in the human brain. Within the last two decades, an explosion of research has emerged using fMRI, revealing the underpinnings of everything from motor and sensory processes to the foundations of social cognition. While these results have revealed the potential of neuroimaging, important questions regarding the reliability of these results remain unanswered. In this paper, we take a close look at what is currently known about the reliability of fMRI findings. First, we examine the many factors that influence the quality of acquired fMRI data. We also conduct a review of the existing literature to determine if some measure of agreement has emerged regarding the reliability of fMRI. Finally, we provide commentary on ways to improve fMRI reliability and what questions remain unanswered. Reliability is the foundation on which scientific investigation is based. How reliable are the results from fMRI?
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several psychiatric illnesses including major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. In this regard, the DLPFC has been targeted in repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) studies as a form of treatment to those patients who are resistant to medications. The '5-cm method' and the '10-20 method' for positioning the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil over DLPFC have been scrutinised due to poor targeting accuracies attributed to inter-subject variability. We evaluated the accuracy of such methods to localise the DLPFC on the scalp in 15 healthy subjects and compared them with our novel neuronavigational method, which first estimates the DLPFC position in the cortex based on a standard template and then determines the most appropriate position on the scalp in which to place the TMS coil. Our neuronavigational method yielded a scalp position for the left DLPFC between electrodes F3 and F5 in standard space and was closest to electrode F5 in individual space. Further, we found that there was significantly less inter-subject variability using our neuronavigational method for localising the DLPFC on the scalp compared with the '5-cm method' and the '10-20 method'. Our findings also suggest that the '10-20 method' is superior to the '5-cm method' in reducing inter-subject variability and that electrode F5 should be the stimulation location of choice when MRI co-registration is not available.
Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) combined with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) and tractography allows investigating functional anatomy of the human brain with high precision. Here we demonstrate that working memory (WM) processing of tactile temporal information is facilitated by delivering a single TMS pulse to the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) during memory maintenance. Facilitation was obtained only with a TMS pulse applied to a location of the MFG with anatomical connectivity to the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). TMS improved tactile WM also when distractive tactile stimuli interfered with memory maintenance. Moreover, TMS to the same MFG site attenuated somatosensory evoked responses (SEPs). The results suggest that the TMS-induced memory improvement is explained by increased top-down suppression of interfering sensory processing in S1 via the MFG-S1 link. These results demonstrate an anatomical and functional network that is involved in maintenance of tactile temporal WM.