A non-invasive method for exciting neurons in the brain
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method for exciting neurons in the brain. The excitation is caused by electric currents induced in the tissue by rapidly alternating magnetic fields (electromagnetic induction). In this way, brain activity may be triggered or modulated without surgery or externally applied electrodes. This technique is used to study the circuitry and connectivity of the brain. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, known as rTMS, may produce longer-lasting changes in electro-cortical function.
TMS’s major contribution to cognitive psychology and neuroscience is the fact that it can demonstrate causality. Non-invasive mapping techniques such as fMRI allow researchers to visualize which regions of the brain are activated when a subject performs a certain task. This does not in itself constitute proof that those regions are actually used for the task concerned. It merely demonstrates that a specific region is associated with a given task. If activity in the associated region is suppressed with TMS stimulation and a subject’s performance declines or alters on a task, this constitutes much stronger evidence that the region is actually associated with performance of the task.
EEG (or ERP) recording during TMS stimulation is an important technique providing support in the determination of cognitive processes, but it is also a well known technically challenging task. TMS stimulation induces a very strong electrical field that can saturate the recording amplifiers for a long duration. Furthermore, even if the amplifier does not reach saturation point, the TMS pulse induces an artifact in the EEG data that can last for hundreds of milliseconds.
applying its extensive experience in the field, Brain Products has designed a complete and unique system configuration particularly suitable for EEG/TMS.
The PowerMag research is a TMS stimulator built using innovative hardware solutions which allow it to be phase synchronized with the EEG amplifiers and continuous EEGs to be recorded without any power line noise or recharging artifacts.
The BrainAmp DC/BrainAmp MR plus is an EEG amplifier which has a software-selectable operating range and can work in very high electromagnetic fields without saturation. This outstanding feature makes it possible to record neurophysiological data without blocking the amplifier and therefore without any loss of physiological information. Moreover, the amplifier’s high sampling frequency (up to 5000 Hz) and the wide hardware bandwidth (from DC to 1000 Hz) together minimize ripple and therefore the duration of the TMS artifact.
The Fast’n Easy Cap for TMS is a special EEG cap with flat and freely rotating electrodes which allow to minimize the distance between the stimulation coil and the cortex and have the best cable geometry for every stimulation point.
For comprehensive information on what Brain Products offers for combined EEG & TMS recordings, please visit http://www.brainproducts.com/products_by_apps.php?aid=7 for further details