Group and individual level variations between symmetric and asymmetric DLPFC montages for tDCS over large scale brain network nodes.
Two challenges to optimizing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) are selecting between, often similar, electrode montages and accounting for inter-individual differences in response. These two factors are related by how tDCS montage determines current flow through the brain considered across or within individuals. MRI-based computational head models (CHMs) predict how brain anatomy determines electric field (EF) patterns for a given tDCS montage. Because conventional tDCS produces diffuse brain current flow, stimulation outcomes may be understood as modulation of global networks. Therefore, we developed a network-led, rather than region-led, approach. We specifically considered two common “frontal” tDCS montages that nominally target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; asymmetric “unilateral” (anode/cathode: F4/Fp1) and symmetric “bilateral” (F4/F3) electrode montages. CHMs of 66 participants were constructed. We showed that cathode location significantly affects EFs in the limbic network. Furthermore, using a finer parcellation of large-scale networks, we found significant differences in some of the main nodes within a network, even if there is no difference at the network level. This study generally demonstrates a methodology for considering the components of large-scale networks in CHMs instead of targeting a single region and specifically provides insight into how symmetric vs asymmetric frontal tDCS may differentially modulate networks across a population.
PMID: 33446802 [PubMed – in process]
Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 14;11(1):1271
Authors: Soleimani G, Saviz M, Bikson M, Towhidkhah F, Kuplicki R, Paulus MP, Ekhtiari H