Predicting TMS-induced activation in human neocortex using concurrent TMS/PET, finite element analysis and computational modeling

Ghazaleh Arabkheradmand, Todd D. Krieg, Felipe S. Salinas, Peter T Fox, David J. Mogul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a powerful technique to noninvasively activate neurons in the brain. However, the relationship between TMS-generated electric fields (E-fields) and specific cortical responses is not well understood. The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between induced E-fields and neocortical activation measured by metabolic responses. Human subject-specific detailed finite element models (FEM) of the head were constructed to calculate the distribution of induced cortical E-field vectors. Positron emission tomography (PET) recordings were made during concurrent TMS application as a measure of cortical activation. A functional model of local circuit connections was developed to study the relationship between applied magnetic fields and neocortical activation and was fitted to experimental data. Sensitivity of interneurons to induced tangential E-fields was over twice as strong as pyramidal neuron sensitivity to induced normal E-fields which may help explain why cortical electrophysiological responses to TMS have specific sensitivities to coil orientation. Furthermore, this study produced an algorithm for predicting electrophysiological responses in human neocortex with high accuracy (>95%) that could provide an invaluable tool for planning of specific regional cortical activation critical in both research and clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025028
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 24 2019



  • cortical activation
  • finite element modeling
  • pet
  • predictive algorithm
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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