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      Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Connectivity Mapping: Tools for Studying the Neural Bases of Brain Disorders

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          Abstract

          There has been an increasing emphasis on characterizing pathophysiology underlying psychiatric and neurological disorders in terms of altered neural connectivity and network dynamics. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) provides a unique opportunity for investigating connectivity in the human brain. TMS allows researchers and clinicians to directly stimulate cortical regions accessible to electromagnetic coils positioned on the scalp. The induced activation can then propagate through long-range connections to other brain areas. Thus, by identifying distal regions activated during TMS, researchers can infer connectivity patterns in the healthy human brain and can examine how those patterns may be disrupted in patients with different brain disorders. Conversely, connectivity maps derived using neuroimaging methods can identify components of a dysfunctional network. Nodes in this dysfunctional network accessible as targets for TMS by virtue of their proximity to the scalp may then permit TMS-induced alterations of components of the network not directly accessible to TMS via propagated effects. Thus TMS can provide a portal for accessing and altering neural dynamics in networks that are widely distributed anatomically. Finally, when long-term modulation of network dynamics is induced by trains of repetitive TMS, changes in functional connectivity patterns can be studied in parallel with changes in patient symptoms. These correlational data can elucidate neural mechanisms underlying illness and recovery. In this review, we focus on the application of these approaches to the study of psychiatric and neurological illnesses.

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          Most cited references 89

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          Safety, ethical considerations, and application guidelines for the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in clinical practice and research.

          This article is based on a consensus conference, which took place in Certosa di Pontignano, Siena (Italy) on March 7-9, 2008, intended to update the previous safety guidelines for the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in research and clinical settings. Over the past decade the scientific and medical community has had the opportunity to evaluate the safety record of research studies and clinical applications of TMS and repetitive TMS (rTMS). In these years the number of applications of conventional TMS has grown impressively, new paradigms of stimulation have been developed (e.g., patterned repetitive TMS) and technical advances have led to new device designs and to the real-time integration of TMS with electroencephalography (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thousands of healthy subjects and patients with various neurological and psychiatric diseases have undergone TMS allowing a better assessment of relative risks. The occurrence of seizures (i.e., the most serious TMS-related acute adverse effect) has been extremely rare, with most of the few new cases receiving rTMS exceeding previous guidelines, often in patients under treatment with drugs which potentially lower the seizure threshold. The present updated guidelines review issues of risk and safety of conventional TMS protocols, address the undesired effects and risks of emerging TMS interventions, the applications of TMS in patients with implanted electrodes in the central nervous system, and safety aspects of TMS in neuroimaging environments. We cover recommended limits of stimulation parameters and other important precautions, monitoring of subjects, expertise of the rTMS team, and ethical issues. While all the recommendations here are expert based, they utilize published data to the extent possible.
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            Dynamic causal modelling.

            In this paper we present an approach to the identification of nonlinear input-state-output systems. By using a bilinear approximation to the dynamics of interactions among states, the parameters of the implicit causal model reduce to three sets. These comprise (1) parameters that mediate the influence of extrinsic inputs on the states, (2) parameters that mediate intrinsic coupling among the states, and (3) [bilinear] parameters that allow the inputs to modulate that coupling. Identification proceeds in a Bayesian framework given known, deterministic inputs and the observed responses of the system. We developed this approach for the analysis of effective connectivity using experimentally designed inputs and fMRI responses. In this context, the coupling parameters correspond to effective connectivity and the bilinear parameters reflect the changes in connectivity induced by inputs. The ensuing framework allows one to characterise fMRI experiments, conceptually, as an experimental manipulation of integration among brain regions (by contextual or trial-free inputs, like time or attentional set) that is revealed using evoked responses (to perturbations or trial-bound inputs, like stimuli). As with previous analyses of effective connectivity, the focus is on experimentally induced changes in coupling (cf., psychophysiologic interactions). However, unlike previous approaches in neuroimaging, the causal model ascribes responses to designed deterministic inputs, as opposed to treating inputs as unknown and stochastic.
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              Theta burst stimulation of the human motor cortex.

              It has been 30 years since the discovery that repeated electrical stimulation of neural pathways can lead to long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices. With its relevance to processes such as learning and memory, the technique has produced a vast literature on mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in animal models. To date, the most promising method for transferring these methods to humans is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a noninvasive method of stimulating neural pathways in the brain of conscious subjects through the intact scalp. However, effects on synaptic plasticity reported are often weak, highly variable between individuals, and rarely last longer than 30 min. Here we describe a very rapid method of conditioning the human motor cortex using rTMS that produces a controllable, consistent, long-lasting, and powerful effect on motor cortex physiology and behavior after an application period of only 20-190 s.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Front Syst Neurosci
                Front. Syst. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                1662-5137
                15 June 2010
                12 August 2010
                2010
                : 4
                10.3389/fnsys.2010.00040
                2950743
                20941369
                Copyright © 2010 Hampson and Hoffman.

                This is an open-access publication subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

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                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 90, Pages: 8, Words: 8620
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Review Article

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