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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.243 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2013007163
pages 21-35

A Review of Computational Models of Transcranial Electrical Stimulation

Siwei Bai
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia
Colleen Loo
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia; School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia; Department of Psychiatry, St George Hospital, NSW 2217, Australia
Socrates Dokos
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia

ABSTRACT

Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), which includes transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), has played an important role in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Decades of empirical research and clinical experience have led to new and improved brain stimulation techniques, but the mechanisms underlying treatment efficacy and side effects are poorly understood. As part of the ongoing research effort in tES, the value of computational models of transcranial electric current flow has been increasingly recognized, and a proliferation of modeling studies have been published. The complexity of these tES models ranges from simple sphere-based models of the head to high-resolution anatomical reconstructions based on head-image scans. This review provides an up-to-date description and comparison of existing computational models of tES (primarily tDCS and ECT), focusing on the modeling approaches adopted in previous studies and their significant finding.