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Variance in cortical depth across the brain surface: Implications for transcranial stimulation of the brain

Davis, Nick J (2020) Variance in cortical depth across the brain surface: Implications for transcranial stimulation of the brain. European Journal of Neuroscience, 53 (4). pp. 996-1007. ISSN 0953-816X

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Abstract

The distance between the surface of the scalp and the surface of the grey matter of the brain is a key factor in determining the effective dose of non‐invasive brain stimulation for an individual person. The highly folded nature of the cortical surface means that the depth of a particular brain area is likely to vary between individuals. The question addressed here is: what is the variability of this measure of cortical depth? 94 anatomical MRI images were taken from the OASIS database. For each image, the minimum distance from each point in the grey matter to the scalp surface was determined. Transforming these estimates into standard space meant that the coefficient of variation could be determined across the sample. The results indicated that depth variability is high across the cortical surface, even when taking sulcal depth into account. This was true even for the primary visual and motor areas, which are often used in setting TMS dosage. The correlation of the depth of these areas and the depth of other brain areas was low. The results suggest that dose‐setting of TMS based on visual or evoked potentials may offer poor reliability, and that individual brain images should be used when targeting non‐primary brain areas.

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