Personalizing the electrode to neuromodulate an extended cortical region

A. Cancelli, C. Cottone, M. Di Giorgio, F. Carducci, F. Tecchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Among transcranial electric stimulation (tES) parameters, personalizing the electrode geometry might help overcome the individual variability of the induced effects. Objective/hypothesis: To test the need for electrode personalization, instead of a universal electrode for everyone, to induce neuromodulation effects on the bilateral primary motor cortex (M1) devoted to upper and lower limb representation. Methods: By an ad-hoc neuronavigation procedure, we shaped the personalized electrode and positioned it matching the projection on the scalp of the individual central sulcus by a 2 cm strip, with total area of 35 cm2. The non-personalized electrode, i.e., equal for all subjects, was a 2 cm wide strip size-matched with the personalized electrode but shaped on a standard model fitting the curve passing through C3-CZC4 sites of the electroencephalographic (EEG) 10-20 International System. To test neuromodulation electrode-dependent efficacy, we induced a 20 Hz sinusoidal modulated current (transcranial alternating current stimulation, tACS) because it produces online effects. We simultaneously collected left and right hand and leg motor potentials (MEP) that were evoked by a rounded transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil. Through each electrode we delivered both real and sham stimulations. Results: While cortical excitability during tACS increased during both the non-personalized and the personalized electrodes for the leg, the hand representation excitability enhancement was induced selectively when using the personalized electrode. The results were consistent bilaterally. Conclusions: We documented that by using a personalized electrode it is possible to induce the neuromodulation of a predetermined extended cortical target, which did not occur with a non-personalized electrode. Our findings can help in building neuromodulation methods that might compensate for individual alterations across specific brain networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-560
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Cortical target
  • Electrode personalization
  • Neuronavigation
  • Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics
  • Medicine(all)


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