A coil design for transcranial magnetic stimulation of deep brain regions

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2002 Aug;19(4):361-70. doi: 10.1097/00004691-200208000-00008.


Noninvasive magnetic stimulation of the human central nervous system has been used in research and the clinic for several years. However, the coils used previously stimulated mainly the cortical brain regions but could not stimulate deeper brain regions directly. The purpose of the current study was to develop a coil to stimulate deep brain regions. Stimulation of the nucleus accumbens and the nerve fibers connecting the prefrontal cortex with the nucleus accumbens was one major target of the authors' coil design. Numeric simulations of the electrical field induced by several types of coils were performed and accordingly an optimized coil for deep brain stimulation was designed. The electrical field induced by the new coil design was measured in a phantom brain and compared with the double-cone coil. The numeric simulations show that the electrical fields induced by various types of coils are always greater in cortical regions (closer to the coil placement); however, the decrease in electrical field within the brain (as a function of the distance from the coil) is markedly slower for the new coil design. The phantom brain measurements basically confirmed the numeric simulations. The suggested coil is likely to have the ability of deep brain stimulation without the need to increase the intensity to levels that stimulate cortical regions to a much higher extent and possibly cause undesirable side effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Quality Control
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / therapeutic use