Objective. Temporal interference stimulation (TIS) has shown the potential as a new method for selective stimulation of deep brain structures in small animal experiments. However, it is challenging to deliver a sufficient temporal interference (TI) current to directly induce an action potential in the deep area of the human brain when electrodes are attached to the scalp because the amount of injection current is generally limited due to safety issues. Thus, we propose a novel method called epidural TIS (eTIS) to address this issue; in this method, the electrodes are attached to the epidural surface under the skull. Approach. We employed finite element method (FEM)-based electric field simulations to demonstrate the feasibility of eTIS. We first optimized the electrode conditions to deliver maximum TI currents to each of the three different targets (anterior hippocampus, subthalamic nucleus, and ventral intermediate nucleus) based on FEM, and compared the stimulation focality between eTIS and transcranial TIS (tTIS). Moreover, we conducted realistic skull-phantom experiments for validating the accuracy of the computational simulation for eTIS. Main results. Our simulation results showed that eTIS has the advantage of avoiding the delivery of TI currents over unwanted neocortical regions compared with tTIS for all three targets. It was shown that the optimized eTIS could induce neural action potentials at each of the three targets when a sufficiently large current equivalent to that for epidural cortical stimulation is injected. Additionally, the simulated results and measured results via the phantom experiments were in good agreement. Significance. We demonstrated the feasibility of eTIS, facilitating more focalized and stronger electrical stimulation of deep brain regions than tTIS, with the relatively less invasive placement of electrodes than conventional deep brain stimulation via computational simulation and realistic skull phantom experiments.
- epidural electrical stimulation
- finite element method
- human skull phantom experiment
- temporal interference stimulation