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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 May 2022 - 13 May 2022


Front Psychiatry


Concurrent TMS-fMRI: Technical Challenges, Developments, and Overview of Previous Studies.


Mizutani-Tiebel Y, Tik M, Chang K-Y, Padberg F, Soldini A, Wilkinson Z, Voon C C, Bulubas L, Windischberger C, Keeser D
Front Psychiatry. 2022; 13:825205.
PMID: 35530029.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a promising treatment modality for psychiatric and neurological disorders. Repetitive TMS (rTMS) is widely used for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological diseases, such as depression, motor stroke, and neuropathic pain. However, the underlying mechanisms of rTMS-mediated neuronal modulation are not fully understood. In this respect, concurrent or simultaneous TMS-fMRI, in which TMS is applied during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), is a viable tool to gain insights, as it enables an investigation of the immediate effects of TMS. Concurrent application of TMS during neuroimaging usually causes severe artifacts due to magnetic field inhomogeneities induced by TMS. However, by carefully interleaving the TMS pulses with MR signal acquisition in the way that these are far enough apart, we can avoid any image distortions. While the very first feasibility studies date back to the 1990s, recent developments in coil hardware and acquisition techniques have boosted the number of TMS-fMRI applications. As such, a concurrent application requires expertise in both TMS and MRI mechanisms and sequencing, and the hurdle of initial technical set up and maintenance remains high. This review gives a comprehensive overview of concurrent TMS-fMRI techniques by collecting (1) basic information, (2) technical challenges and developments, (3) an overview of findings reported so far using concurrent TMS-fMRI, and (4) current limitations and our suggestions for improvement. By sharing this review, we hope to attract the interest of researchers from various backgrounds and create an educational knowledge base.