Seminar Series

From Computer Simulations to Clinical Trials for the Treatment of Brain Network Disorders

Non-invasive brain stimulation has the potential to safely and effectively modulate brain network dynamics. Recently, targeting of cortical oscillations by brain stimulation with periodic stimulation waveforms, in particular transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), has emerged as a particularly appealing approach for understanding the causal role of cortical oscillations in human cognition and behavior. Given the growing evidence for selective impairment of network oscillations in psychiatric and neurological disorders, these stimulation paradigms have the potential to become effective therapeutics. The main hurdle is the current lack of a mechanistic understanding of how stimulation engages neuronal circuits. As a result, little progress has been made towards the rational design of individualized, adaptive stimulation treatments. A key tool to accomplish such a mechanistic understanding is the use of computational models. However, such modeling strategies can only be fully leveraged in tight conjunction with experimental approaches in both humans and animal model studies. Here, we provide an update on our work that vertically integrates computer simulations, in vitro and in vivo animal electrophysiology, and human studies, including clinical trials of tACS. The aim of this approach is to provide the basis for the development of brain stimulation treatment strategies for disorders associated with specific deficits in cortical oscillations.