Analyzing the advantages of subcutaneous over tES

Analyzing the advantages of subcutaneous over transcutaneous electrical stimulation for activating brainwaves.

Transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) is a widely accepted neuromodulation modality for treating brain disorders. However, its clinical efficacy is fundamentally limited due to the current shunting effect of the scalp and safety issues. A newer electrical stimulation technique called subcutaneous electrical stimulation (SES) promises to overcome the limitations of TES by applying currents directly at the site of the disorder through the skull. While SES seems promising, the electrophysiological effect of SES compared to TES is still unknown, thus limiting its broader application. Here we comprehensively analyze the SES and TES to demonstrate the effectiveness and advantages of SES. Beagles were bilaterally implanted with subdural strips for intracranial electroencephalography and electric field recording. For the intracerebral electric field prediction, we designed a 3D electromagnetic simulation framework and simulated TES and SES. In the beagle model, SES induces three to four-fold larger cerebral electric fields compared to TES, and significant changes in power ratio of brainwaves were observed only in SES. Our prediction framework suggests that the field penetration of SES would be several-fold larger than TES in human brains. These results demonstrate that the SES would significantly enhance the neuromodulatory effects compared to conventional TES and overcome the TES limitations.

PMID: 32355172 [PubMed – in process]

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 30;10(1):7360

Authors: Kang W, Lee J, Kim YR, Chung WR, Na DL, Shon YM, Park SM




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