On the importance of precise electrode placement for targeted transcranial electric stimulation

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Abstract

Transcranial electric stimulation (TES) is an increasingly popular method for non-invasive modulation of brain activity and a potential treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders. However, there are concerns about the reliability of its application because of variability in TES-induced intracranial electric fields across individuals. While realistic computational models offer can help to alleviate these concerns, their direct empirical validation is sparse, and their practical implications are not always clear. In this study, we combine direct intracranial measurements of electric fields generated by TES in surgical epilepsy patients with computational modeling. First, we directly validate the computational models and identify key parameters needed for accurate model predictions. Second, we derive practical guidelines for a reliable application of TES in terms of the precision of electrode placement needed to achieve a desired electric field distribution. Based on our results, we recommend electrode placement accuracy to be<1cm for a reliable application of TES across sessions.

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