open access publication

Article, 2023

Volumetric measurements of weak current–induced magnetic fields in the human brain at high resolution

In: Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, ISSN 0740-3194, 1522-2594, Volume 90, 5, Pages 1874-1888, 10.1002/mrm.29780

Contributors (8)

Göksu, Cihan (0000-0002-6214-032X) [1] [2] Gregersen, Fróði (0000-0002-0648-8399) [1] [3] [4] Scheffler, Klaus (0000-0001-6316-8773) [2] [5] Eroğlu, Hasan Hüseyi n (0000-0002-8723-5894) [1] [4] Heule, Rahel (0000-0002-4589-6483) [2] [5] Siebner, Hartwig Roman (0000-0002-3756-9431) [1] [6] [7] Hanson, Lars Grüner (0000-0002-8204-6912) [1] [4] Thielscher, Axel (0000-0002-4752-5854) (Corresponding author) [1] [4]


  1. [1] Hvidovre Hospital
  2. [NORA names: Capital Region of Denmark; Hospital; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]
  3. [2] Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
  4. [NORA names: Germany; Europe, EU; OECD]
  5. [3] Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research
  6. [4] Technical University of Denmark
  7. [NORA names: DTU Technical University of Denmark; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]
  8. [5] University of Tübingen
  9. [NORA names: Germany; Europe, EU; OECD]


PURPOSE: Clinical use of transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) requires accurate knowledge of the injected current distribution in the brain. MR current density imaging (MRCDI) uses measurements of the TES-induced magnetic fields to provide this information. However, sufficient sensitivity and image quality in humans in vivo has only been documented for single-slice imaging. METHODS: A recently developed, optimally spoiled, acquisition-weighted, gradient echo-based 2D-MRCDI method has now been advanced for volume coverage with densely or sparsely distributed slices: The 3D rectilinear sampling (3D-DENSE) and simultaneous multislice acquisition (SMS-SPARSE) were optimized and verified by cable-loop experiments and tested with 1-mA TES experiments for two common electrode montages. RESULTS: Comparisons between the volumetric methods against the 2D-MRCDI showed that relatively long acquisition times of 3D-DENSE using a single slab with six slices hindered the expected sensitivity improvement in the current-induced field measurements but improved sensitivity by 61% in the Laplacian of the field, on which some MRCDI reconstruction methods rely. Also, SMS-SPARSE acquisition of three slices, with a factor 2 CAIPIRINHA (controlled aliasing in parallel imaging results in higher acceleration) acceleration, performed best against the 2D-MRCDI with sensitivity improvements for the B z , c $$ \Delta {B}_{z,c} $$ and Laplacian noise floors of 56% and 78% (baseline without current flow) as well as 43% and 55% (current injection into head). SMS-SPARSE reached a sensitivity of 67 pT for three distant slices at 2 × 2 × 3 mm3 resolution in 10 min of total scan time, and consistently improved image quality. CONCLUSION: Volumetric MRCDI measurements with high sensitivity and image quality are well suited to characterize the TES field distribution in the human brain.


CAIPIRINHA acceleration, Laplacian, Pt, TES experiments, acceleration, accurate knowledge, acquisition, acquisition time, brain, clinical use, common electrode montages, comparison, coverage, current density imaging, current distribution, current-induced magnetic field, density imaging, distribution, electrical stimulation, electrode montages, experiments, field, field distribution, field measurements, floor, high resolution, high sensitivity, human brain, humans, image quality, imaging, improved sensitivity, improvement, information, knowledge, long acquisition times, magnetic field, math, measurements, method, min, montage, multislice acquisition, noise floor, quality, reconstruction method, resolution, sampling, scan time, sensitivity, sensitivity improvement, simultaneous multislice acquisition, single slab, single-slice imaging, slab, slices, stimulation, sufficient sensitivity, time, total scan time, transcranial electrical stimulation, use, vivo, volume coverage, volumetric measurements, volumetric method


  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • Lundbeck Foundation