[Nov 18, 2016 Update: Proceeding of WorkShop Published: Download PDF: 23657]

Dr. Marom Bikson will speak at the

Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders

Hosted by the National Academies. Event Page

Slides here: QuantificationOfNeuromodulationDose_Bikson

When: June 14, 2016 – June 15, 2016 (1:30 PM Eastern). Dr. Bikson lectures on June 15 at 9:55 AM

Where: Keck Center • 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 4.48.47 PM

New Paper: Tolerability of Repeated Application of Transcranial Electrical Stimulation with Limited Outputs to Healthy Subjects


Brain Stimulation 2016 May 24. pii: S1935-861X(16)30104-8. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2016.05.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract: The safety and tolerability of limited output tES in clinical populations support a non-significant risk designation. The tolerability of long-term use in a healthy population had remained untested. We tested the tolerability and compliance of two tES waveforms, tDCS and modulated high frequency transcranial pulsed current stimulation (MHF-tPCS) compared to sham-tDCS, applied to healthy subjects for three to five days (17–20 minutes per day) per week for up to six weeks in a communal setting. MHF-tPCS consisted of asymmetric high-frequency pulses (7–11 kHz) having a peak amplitude of 10–20 mA peak, adjusted by subject, resulting in an average current of 5–7 mA. A total of 100 treatment blind healthy subjects were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: tDCS (n = 33), MHF-tPCS (n = 30), or sham-tDCS (n = 37). In order to test the role of waveform, electrode type and montage were fixed across tES and sham-tDCS arms: high-capacity self-adhering electrodes on the right lateral forehead and back of the neck. We conducted 1905 sessions (636 sham-tDCS, 623 tDCS, and 646 MHF-tPCS sessions) on study volunteers over a period of six weeks. Common adverse events were primarily restricted to influences upon the skin and included skin tingling, itching, and mild burning sensations. The incidence of these events in the active tES treatment arms (MHF-tPCS, tDCS) was equivalent or significantly lower than their incidence in the sham-tDCS treatment arm. Other adverse events had a rarity (<5% incidence) that could not be significantly distinguished across the treatment groups. Some subjects were withdrawn from the study due to atypical headache (sham-tDCS n = 2, tDCS n = 2, and MHF-tPCS n = 3), atypical discomfort (sham-tDCS n = 0, tDCS n = 1, and MHF-tPCS n = 1), or atypical skin irritation (sham-tDCS n = 2, tDCS n = 8, and MHF-tPCS n = 1). The rate of compliance, elected sessions completed, for the MHF-tPCS group was significantly greater than the sham-tDCS group’s compliance (p = 0.007). There were no serious adverse events in any treatment condition. We conclude that repeated application of limited output tES across extended periods, limited to the hardware, electrodes, and protocols tested here, is well tolerated in healthy subjects, as previously observed in clinical populations.

Electrode configurations and montages. Identical electrodes and montages were ...

Special CCNY BME Seminar Oct 26, 2016 featuring two Neural Engineering Lab researchers.

3 PM in the CCNY BME conference room. Steinman Hall Room 402

Modulating synaptic plasticity with tDCS

Mr. Greg Kronberg

Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York

Abstract: Synapses allow communication between neurons and guide the flow of information throughout the brain. Modification of synapses in response to experience, or synaptic plasticity, is thought to be a cellular mechanism for learning and memory. Noninvasive tools to alter synaptic plasticity are therefore highly desirable. Recently, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), has received much attention as a such a tool. tDCS is the noninvasive application of weak DC electric current to the brain through electrodes on the scalp. In this talk I will discuss mechanisms by which tDCS may influence synaptic plasticity, and how this can inform tDCS protocols to improve learning and memory

Bio-sketch: Greg Kronberg is currently a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department at The City College of New York (CCNY), where he works under Lucas Parra. He received his BS in Biology from the University of Maryland and his MS in Biomedical Engineering from CCNY. His research focuses on the use of electrical brain stimulation to improve learning and memory.

Measurements and models of electric fields in the in vivo human brain during transcranial electric stimulation

Yu (Andy) Huang, Ph.D.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York

Abstract: Transcranial electric stimulation aims to stimulate the brain by applying weak electrical currents at the scalp. However, the magnitude and spatial distribution of electric fields in the human brain are unknown. Here we measure electric potentials intracranially in ten patients and estimate electric fields across the entire brain by leveraging calibrated current-flow models. Electric field magnitudes at the cortical surface reach values of 0.4 V/m, which is at the lower limit of effectiveness in animal studies. When individual anatomy is taken into account, the predicted electric field magnitudes match the recorded values with r=0.77. Modeling white matter anisotropy and different skull compartments does not improve accuracy, but correct magnitude estimates require an adjustment of conductivity values used in the literature. This is the first study to validate and calibrate current-flow models with in vivo intracranial recordings in humans, providing a solid foundation for targeting and interpretation of clinical trials.

Biosketch: Yu (Andy) Huang received his Ph.D. from Department of Biomedical Engineering, City College of New York. His research focuses on neuroimaging, image segmentation and computational modeling of image data. He received his B.S. and M.S. from University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, both in Biomedical Engineering.

3rd BIC Symposium event website

The Brain Imaging Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Davis Auditorium (2nd floor) Hess Center for Science and Medicine
October 19, 2016

1:55-2:20 Lucas Parra, PhD (CCNY) – “On Brainwaves and Videos and Video Games”

3:15-3:40 Marom Bikson, PhD (CUNY) – “Non-invasive Brain Stimulation and Imaging” Download slides: marombikson_brainstimwithimaging_2016


Marom Bikson lectures at the Interdisciplinary Late-Summer School on Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation in Freiburg, Germany (Oct 12-16, 2016). Event details here

Download Bikson’s slides on “Translational aspects of tDCS: from rodent to humans” –  bikson_nibs_summerschool_2016

Download Bikson slides on “Modeling tDCS current flow: Hand-on practical” modelingworkshop_summer



Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, Clinical Research

The Influence of Skin Redness on Blinding in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Studies: A Crossover Trial

Fernando Ezquerro, Adriano H. Moffa, Marom Bikson, Niranjan Khadka, Luana V. M. Aparicio, Bernardo de Sampaio-Junior, Felipe Fregni, Isabela M. Bensenor, Paulo A. Lotufo, Alexandre Costa Pereira, Andre R. Brunoni


To evaluate whether and to which extent skin redness (erythema) affects investigator blinding in transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) trials.
Material and Methods
Twenty-six volunteers received sham and active tDCS, which was applied with saline-soaked sponges of different thicknesses. High-resolution skin images, taken before and 5, 15, and 30 min after stimulation, were randomized and presented to experienced raters who evaluated erythema intensity and judged on the likelihood of stimulation condition (sham vs. active). In addition, semi-automated image processing generated probability heatmaps and surface area coverage of erythema. Adverse events were also collected.
Erythema was present, but less intense in sham compared to active groups. Erythema intensity was inversely and directly associated to correct sham and active stimulation group allocation, respectively. Our image analyses found that erythema also occurs after sham and its distribution is homogenous below electrodes. Tingling frequency was higher using thin compared to thick sponges, whereas erythema was more intense under thick sponges.
Optimal investigator blinding is achieved when erythema after tDCS is mild. Erythema distribution under the electrode is patchy, occurs after sham tDCS and varies according to sponge thickness. We discuss methods to address skin erythema-related tDCS unblinding.

Full PDF: Erythema and tDCS


Nature Scientific Reports

In-vivo Imaging of Magnetic Fields Induced by Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Human Brain using MRI

Mayank V. Jog, Robert X. Smith, Kay Jann, Walter Dunn, Belen Lafon, Dennis Truong, Allan Wu, Lucas Parra, Marom Bikson & Danny J. J. Wang

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an emerging non-invasive neuromodulation technique that applies mA currents at the scalp to modulate cortical excitability. Here, we present a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, which detects magnetic elds induced by tDCS currents. This technique is based on Ampere’s law and exploits the linear relationship between direct current and induced magnetic elds. Following validation on a phantom with a known path of electric current and induced magnetic eld, the proposed MRI technique was applied to a human limb (to demonstrate in- vivo feasibility using simple biological tissue) and human heads (to demonstrate feasibility in standard tDCS applications). The results show that the proposed technique detects tDCS induced magnetic elds as small as a nanotesla at millimeter spatial resolution. Through measurements of magnetic elds linearly proportional to the applied tDCS current, our approach opens a new avenue for direct in-vivo visualization of tDCS target engagement.

Full PDF: srep34385


Our new review is published:

Jackson MP, Rahman A, Lafon B, Kronberg G, Ling D, Parra LC, Bikson M, Animal Models of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: Methods and Mechanisms, Clinical Neurophysiology, doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2016.08.016

Full PDF here: animalmodelstdcs_2016

Abstract:  The objective of this review is to summarize the contribution of animal research using direct current stimulation (DCS) to our understanding of the physiological effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). We comprehensively address experimental methodology in animal studies, broadly classified as: 1) transcranial stimulation; 2) direct cortical stimulation in vivo and 3) in vitro models. In each case advantages and disadvantages for translational research are discussed including dose translation and the overarching “quasi-uniform” assumption, which underpins translational relevance in all animal models of tDCS. Terminology such as anode, cathode, inward current, outward current, current density, electric field, and uniform are defined. Though we put key animal experiments spanning decades in perspective, our goal is not simply an exhaustive cataloging of relevant animal studies, but rather to put them in context of ongoing efforts to improve tDCS. Cellular targets, including excitatory neuronal somas, dendrites, axons, interneurons, glial cells, and endothelial cells are considered. We emphasize neurons are always depolarized and hyperpolarized such that effects of DCS on neuronal excitability can only be evaluated within subcellular regions of the neuron. Findings from animal studies on the effects of DCS on plasticity (LTP/LTD) and network oscillations are reviewed extensively. Any endogenous phenomena dependent on membrane potential changes are, in theory, susceptible to modulation by DCS. The relevance of morphological changes (galvanotropy) to tDCS is also considered, as we suggest microscopic migration of axon terminals or dendritic spines may be relevant during tDCS. A majority of clinical studies using tDCS employ a simplistic dose strategy where excitability is singularly increased or decreased under the anode and cathode, respectively. We discuss how this strategy, itself based on classic animal studies, cannot account for the complexity of normal and pathological brain function, and how recent studies have already indicated more sophisticated approaches are necessary. One tDCS theory regarding “functional targeting” suggests the specificity of tDCS effects are possible by modulating ongoing function (plasticity). Use of animal models of disease are summarized including pain, movement disorders, stroke, and epilepsy


Dr. Lucas Parra, Dr. Jacek Dmochowski, and Dr. Marom Bikson are speakers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) workshop on Transcranial Electrical Stimulation. Sept 29-30, 2016. Dr. Bikson is also a co-organizer of the event.

Full event details here  (watch it on WebX)

Synaptic Plasticity Mechanism Explains the Specificity of tDCS- Lucas Parra, PhD– Download Parra talk slides: talk-plasticity-september-2016

Computational Modeling-assisted Design of tDCS Protocols- Marom Bikson, PhD. — Download Bikson talk slides: nih_2016_bikson

Targeted Stimulation of Active Brain Sources Using Electromagnetic Reciprocity- Jacek Dmochowski, PhD


D.Q. Truong. D. Adair, M. Bikson. Computer-based models of tDCS of tACS in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Clinical Principles ed. M.Nitsche, C. Loo and A. Brunoni 2016 10.1007/978-3-319-33967-2_5 p.47-66 . PDF:computermodels_chapter

D. Ling, A. Rahman, M. Jackson M. Bikson Animal studies in the field of transcranial electric stimulation in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Clinical Principles M.Nitsche, C. Loo and A. Brunoni 2016 10.1007/978-3-319-33967-2_5 p.67-83 PDF: animalstudies_chapter