Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation - Modelling the Electric Field Distribution in the Cervical Spinal Cord

S. R. Fernandes, R. Salvador, C. Wenger, M. de Carvalho, P. C. Miranda


Exploratory studies in humans demonstrated that transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation (tsDCS) has neuromodulatory effects on spinal motor circuitry. There is only one computational study published that presents the electric field and current density distributions during tsDCS applied on the thoracic spine region, using realistic human models based on high-resolution MRI. The main objective of the present study was to perform a finite element analysis of the electric field distribution in tsDCS in the cervical spine region, in order to infer the possible neuromodulatory effects on cervical spine circuitry. The electrode configuration considered in the study followed the experimental setup used in literature, with the target electrode placed over the C6-T1 spinous processes and the return electrode placed over the right deltoid muscle. The electric field distribution in the cervical spinal cord presented higher magnitude values in the upper region of the spinal segments C5 to T1, corresponding to the braquial plexus and related to upper limb neurologic function. These values are consistent with results obtained in previous modelling studies in transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) considering experimental setups of clinical studies that resulted in modulation of the motor cortex. This may indicate that the electric field magnitude maximum values presented could be sufficient for occurrence of neuromodulatory effects in the cervical spinal circuitry related to upper limb function. Cervical tsDCS can, therefore, be a promising non-invasive clinical tool for neuronal circuitry modulation in the cervical spinal cord. Defining accurate models that predict the physical effects of tsDCS on spinal neurons may be a powerful tool to develop clinical applications focused on specific neurologic patient needs.


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Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Fernandes S., Salvador R., Wenger C., Carvalho M. and Miranda P. (2015). Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation - Modelling the Electric Field Distribution in the Cervical Spinal Cord . In - NEUROTECHNIX, ISBN , pages 0-0

in Bibtex Style

author={S. R. Fernandes and R. Salvador and C. Wenger and M. de Carvalho and P. C. Miranda},
title={Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation - Modelling the Electric Field Distribution in the Cervical Spinal Cord},
booktitle={ - NEUROTECHNIX,},

in EndNote Style

TI - Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation - Modelling the Electric Field Distribution in the Cervical Spinal Cord
SN -
AU - Fernandes S.
AU - Salvador R.
AU - Wenger C.
AU - Carvalho M.
AU - Miranda P.
PY - 2015
SP - 0
EP - 0
DO -