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Closing the loop between brain and electrical stimulation: towards precision neuromodulation treatments.

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Soleimani, Ghazaleh 
Bergmann, Til Ole 
Towhidkhah, Farzad 
Violante, Ines R 


One of the most critical challenges in using noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques for the treatment of psychiatric and neurologic disorders is inter- and intra-individual variability in response to NIBS. Response variations in previous findings suggest that the one-size-fits-all approach does not seem the most appropriate option for enhancing stimulation outcomes. While there is a growing body of evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of individualized NIBS approaches, the optimal way to achieve this is yet to be determined. Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) is one of the NIBS techniques showing promising results in modulating treatment outcomes in several psychiatric and neurologic disorders, but it faces the same challenge for individual optimization. With new computational and methodological advances, tES can be integrated with real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) to establish closed-loop tES-fMRI for individually optimized neuromodulation. Closed-loop tES-fMRI systems aim to optimize stimulation parameters based on minimizing differences between the model of the current brain state and the desired value to maximize the expected clinical outcome. The methodological space to optimize closed-loop tES fMRI for clinical applications includes (1) stimulation vs. data acquisition timing, (2) fMRI context (task-based or resting-state), (3) inherent brain oscillations, (4) dose-response function, (5) brain target trait and state and (6) optimization algorithm. Closed-loop tES-fMRI technology has several advantages over non-individualized or open-loop systems to reshape the future of neuromodulation with objective optimization in a clinically relevant context such as drug cue reactivity for substance use disorder considering both inter and intra-individual variations. Using multi-level brain and behavior measures as input and desired outcomes to individualize stimulation parameters provides a framework for designing personalized tES protocols in precision psychiatry.



Humans, Brain, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Electric Stimulation, Nervous System Diseases

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Transl Psychiatry

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC