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Does participant’s age impact on tDCS induced fields? Insights from computational simulations

McCann, Hannah and Beltrachini, Leandro ORCID: 2021. Does participant’s age impact on tDCS induced fields? Insights from computational simulations. Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express 7 (4) , 045018. 10.1088/2057-1976/ac0547

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Objective: Understanding the induced current flow from transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is essential for determining the optimal dose and treatment. Head tissue conductivities play a key role in the resulting electromagnetic fields. However, there exists a complicated relationship between skull conductivity and participant age, that remains unclear. We explored how variations in skull electrical conductivities, particularly as a suggested function of age, affected tDCS induced electric fields. Approach: Simulations were employed to compare tDCS outcomes for different intensities across head atlases of varying age. Three databases were chosen to demonstrate differing variability in skull conductivity with age and how this may affect induced fields. Differences in tDCS electric fields due to proposed age-dependent skull conductivity variation, as well as deviations in grey matter, white matter and scalp, were compared and the most influential tissues determined. Main results: tDCS induced peak electric fields significantly negatively correlated with age, exacerbated by employing proposed age-appropriate skull conductivity (according to all three datasets). Uncertainty in skull conductivity was the most sensitive to changes in peak fields with increasing age. These results were revealed to be directly due to changing skull conductivity, rather than head geometry alone. There was no correlation between tDCS focality and age. Significance: Accurate and individualised head anatomy and in vivo skull conductivity measurements are essential for modelling tDCS induced fields. In particular, age should be taken into account when considering stimulation dose to precisely predict outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: IOP Publishing
ISSN: 2057-1976
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 June 2021
Date of Acceptance: 26 May 2021
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 11:09

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