A simple method for EEG guided transcranial electrical stimulation without models
Andrea Cancelli , Carlo Cottone , Franca Tecchio , Dennis Q Truong , Jacek Dmochowski and Marom Bikson
J. Neural Eng. 13 (2016) 036022
Full PDF: 2016 Cancelli A simple method
Abstract: Objective. There is longstanding interest in using EEG measurements to inform transcranial Electrical Stimulation (tES) but adoption is lacking because users need a simple and adaptable recipe. The conventional approach is to use anatomical head-models for both source localization (the EEG inverse problem) and current flow modeling (the tES forward model), but this approach is computationally demanding, requires an anatomical MRI, and strict assumptions about the target brain regions. We evaluate techniques whereby tES dose is derived from EEG without the need for an anatomical head model, target assumptions, difficult case-by-case conjecture, or many stimulation electrodes. Approach. We developed a simple two-step approach to EEG-guided tES that based on the topography of the EEG: (1) selects locations to be used for stimulation; (2) determines current applied to each electrode. Each step is performed based solely on the EEG with no need for head models or source localization. Cortical dipoles represent idealized brain targets. EEG-guided tES strategies are verified using a finite element method simulation of the EEG generated by a dipole, oriented either tangential or radial to the scalp surface, and then simulating the tES-generated electric field produced by each model-free technique. These model-free approaches are compared to a ‘gold standard’ numerically optimized dose of tES that assumes perfect understanding of the dipole location and head anatomy. We vary the number of electrodes from a few to over three hundred, with focality or intensity as optimization criterion. Main results. Model-free approaches evaluated include (1) voltage-to-voltage, (2) voltage-to-current; (3) Laplacian; and two Ad-Hoc techniques (4) dipole sink-to-sink; and (5) sink to concentric. Our results demonstrate that simple ad hoc approaches can achieve reasonable targeting for the case of a cortical dipole, remarkably with only 2–8 electrodes and no need for a model of the head. Significance. Our approach is verified directly only for a theoretically localized source, but may be potentially applied to an arbitrary EEG topography. For its simplicity and linearity, our recipe for model-free EEG guided tES lends itself to broad adoption and can be applied to static (tDCS), time-variant (e.g., tACS, tRNS, tPCS), or closed-loop tES.