Review on biophysical modelling and simulation studies for transcranial magnetic stimulation

Jose Gomez-Tames*, Ilkka Laakso, Akimasa Hirata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a technique for noninvasively stimulating a brain area for therapeutic, rehabilitation treatments and neuroscience research. Despite our understanding of the physical principles and experimental developments pertaining to TMS, it is difficult to identify the exact brain target as the generated electric field exhibits a non-uniform distribution owing to the complicated and subject-dependent brain anatomy and the lack of biomarkers that can quantify the effects of TMS in most cortical areas. Computational dosimetry has progressed significantly and enables TMS assessment by computation of the induced electric field (the primary physical agent known to activate the brain neurons) in a digital representation of the human head. In this review, TMS dosimetry studies are summarised, clarifying the importance of the anatomical and human biophysical parameters and computational methods. This review shows that there is a high consensus on the importance of a detailed cortical folding representation and an accurate modelling of the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid. Recent studies have also enabled the prediction of individually optimised stimulation based on magnetic resonance imaging of the patient/subject and have attempted to understand the temporal effects of TMS at the cellular level by incorporating neural modelling. These efforts, together with the fast deployment of personalised TMS computations, will permit the adoption of TMS dosimetry as a standard procedure in medical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24TR03
Number of pages27
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Anatomical human head model
  • Dosimetry
  • Electric field
  • Multiscale modeling
  • Neuron
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation


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