Background: The growing use of transcranial electric and magnetic (EM) brain stimulation in basic research and in clinical applications necessitates a clear understanding of what constitutes the dose of EM stimulation and how it should be reported.
Methods: This paper provides fundamental definitions and principles for reporting of dose that encompass any transcranial EM brain stimulation protocol.
Results: The biologic effects of EM stimulation are mediated through an electromagnetic field injected (via electric stimulation) or induced (via magnetic stimulation) in the body. Therefore, transcranial EM stimulation dose ought to be defined by all parameters of the stimulation device that affect the electromagnetic field generated in the body, including the stimulation electrode or coil configuration parameters: shape, size, position, and electrical properties, as well as the electrode or coil current (or voltage) waveform parameters: pulse shape, amplitude, width, polarity, and repetition frequency; duration of and interval between bursts or trains of pulses; total number of pulses; and interval between stimulation sessions and total number of sessions. Knowledge of the electromagnetic field generated in the body may not be sufficient but is necessary to understand the biologic effects of EM stimulation.
Conclusions: We believe that reporting of EM stimulation dose should be guided by the principle of reproducibility: sufficient information about the stimulation parameters should be provided so that the dose can be replicated.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.