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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 360179, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/360179
Research Article

Multiscale Coupling of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Neuron Electrodynamics: Modeling the Influence of the Transcranial Electric Field on Neuronal Depolarization

1Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology Program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2Mathematics Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
3inuTech GmbH, Fuerther Straße 212, 90429 Nuremberg, Germany

Received 24 July 2014; Accepted 17 September 2014; Published 23 October 2014

Academic Editor: Michele Migliore

Copyright © 2014 Edward T. Dougherty et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) continues to demonstrate success as a medical intervention for neurodegenerative diseases, psychological conditions, and traumatic brain injury recovery. One aspect of tDCS still not fully comprehended is the influence of the tDCS electric field on neural functionality. To address this issue, we present a mathematical, multiscale model that couples tDCS administration to neuron electrodynamics. We demonstrate the model’s validity and medical applicability with computational simulations using an idealized two-dimensional domain and then an MRI-derived, three-dimensional human head geometry possessing inhomogeneous and anisotropic tissue conductivities. We exemplify the capabilities of these simulations with real-world tDCS electrode configurations and treatment parameters and compare the model’s predictions to those attained from medical research studies. The model is implemented using efficient numerical strategies and solution techniques to allow the use of fine computational grids needed by the medical community.