Field modeling for transcranial magnetic stimulation: A useful tool to understand the physiological effects of TMS?

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2015;2015:222-5. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2015.7318340.


Electric field calculations based on numerical methods and increasingly realistic head models are more and more used in research on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). However, they are still far from being established as standard tools for the planning and analysis in practical applications of TMS. Here, we start by delineating three main challenges that need to be addressed to unravel their full potential. This comprises (i) identifying and dealing with the model uncertainties, (ii) establishing a clear link between the induced fields and the physiological stimulation effects, and (iii) improving the usability of the tools for field calculation to the level that they can be easily used by non-experts. We then introduce a new version of our pipeline for field calculations ( that substantially simplifies setting up and running TMS and tDCS simulations based on Finite-Element Methods (FEM). We conclude with a brief outlook on how the new version of SimNIBS can help to target the above identified challenges.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Software*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*