Modelling the electric field and the current density generated by cerebellar transcranial DC stimulation in humans

Marta Parazzini, Elena Rossi, Roberta Ferrucci, Ilaria Liorni, Alberto Priori, Paolo Ravazzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) over the cerebellum (or cerebellar tDCS) modulates working memory, changes cerebello-brain interaction, and affects locomotion in humans. Also, the use of tDCS has been proposed for the treatment of disorders characterized by cerebellar dysfunction. Nonetheless, the electric field (E) and current density (J) spatial distributions generated by cerebellar tDCS are unknown. This work aimed to estimate E and J distributions during cerebellar tDCS. Methods: Computational electromagnetics techniques were applied in three human realistic models of different ages and gender. Results: The stronger E and J occurred mainly in the cerebellar cortex, with some spread (up to 4%) toward the occipital cortex. Also, changes by ±1. cm in the position of the active electrode resulted in a small effect (up to 4%) in the E and J spatial distribution in the cerebellum. Finally, the E and J spreads to the brainstem and the heart were negligible, thus further supporting the safety of this technique. Conclusions: Despite inter-individual differences, our modeling study confirms that the cerebellum is the structure mainly involved by cerebellar tDCS. Significance: Modeling approach reveals that during cerebellar tDCS the current spread to other structures outside the cerebellum is unlike to produce functional effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-584
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Volume125
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Cerebellar tDCS
  • Cerebellum
  • Computational modelling
  • DC
  • High resolution head modelling
  • Neuromodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Sensory Systems

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