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      What does the ratio of injected current to electrode area tell us about current density in the brain during tDCS?

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      Clinical Neurophysiology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          To examine the relationship between the ratio of injected current to electrode area (I/A) and the current density at a fixed target point in the brain under the electrode during transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Numerical methods were used to calculate the current density distribution in a standard spherical head model as well as in a homogeneous cylindrical conductor. The calculations using the cylindrical model showed that, for the same I/A ratio, the current density at a fixed depth under the electrode was lower for the smaller of the two electrodes. Using the spherical model, the current density at a fixed target point in the brain under the electrode was found to be a non-linear function of the I/A ratio. For smaller electrodes, more current than predicted by the I/A ratio was required to achieve a predetermined current density in the brain. A non-linear relationship exists between the injected current, the electrode area and the current density at a fixed target point in the brain, which can be described in terms of a montage-specific I-A curve. I-A curves calculated using realistic head models or obtained experimentally should be used when adjusting the current for different electrode sizes or when comparing the effect of different current-electrode area combinations.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Clinical Neurophysiology
          Clinical Neurophysiology
          Elsevier BV
          13882457
          June 2009
          June 2009
          : 120
          : 6
          : 1183-1187
          Article
          10.1016/j.clinph.2009.03.023
          2758822
          19423386
          © 2009

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