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Visualizing Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in vivo using Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a low-cost, non-invasive neuromodulation technique that has been shown to treat clinical symptoms as well as improve cognition. However, no techniques exist at the time of research to visualize tDCS currents in vivo. This dissertation presents the theoretical framework and experimental implementations of a novel MRI technique that enables non-invasive visualization of the tDCS electric current using magnetic field mapping. The first chapter establishes the feasibility of measuring magnetic fields induced by tDCS currents. The following chapter discusses the state of the art implementation that can measure magnetic field changes in individual subjects undergoing concurrent tDCS/MRI. The final chapter discusses how the developed technique was integrated with BOLD fMRI–an established MRI technique for measuring brain function. By enabling a concurrent measurement of the tDCS current induced magnetic field as well as the brain’s hemodynamic response to tDCS, our technique opens a new avenue to investigate tDCS mechanisms and improve targeting.

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