Improved coil design for repetitive magnetic stimulation of the spinal cord

Mihaela Cretu (Electrotechnics and Measurments Department, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Dan Doru Micu (Electrotechnics and Measurements Department, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the response of the spinal cord, the transmembrane potential, during lumbar magnetic stimulation, using a figure of eight coil.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to obtain a precise stimulation of the spinal cord and not the nearby nervous fibres, the coil from the electric circuit of the magnetic stimulator is optimized. The new proposed design is based on the turns’ placement inside the coil, the number of turns required to produce activation. Once the coil configuration is established, the paper addresses other issues that need to be solved: reducing power consumption (the low efficiency of power transfer from the coil to the tissue is a major drawback) and reducing coil heating.

Findings

The traditional commercial coils, used for magnetic stimulation in some preliminary experiments, had proved their inability to specifically stimulate the target tissue, without activating the surrounding areas and the low efficiency of power transfer from the coil to the nervous tissue. A more realistic modelling of the stimulating coil, based on the distribution of turns inside the coil can lead to directly stimulation of the spinal cord, during lumbar magnetic stimulation.

Practical implications

If the electrical circuit of the magnetic stimulator is improved, the direct stimulation of the spinal cord is obtained; so, this technique could facilitate functional motor activities, including standing and stepping in paralyzed people, without requiring implantation of electrodes like in electrical stimulation.

Originality/value

The authors underlined that the spinal cord stimulation can be achieved by magnetic stimulation, only if the parameters of the stimulator circuit are optimized. Therefore an original and realistic modelling of the inductive coil was proposed based on number and turns’ distribution within the coil. The coil is designed so that reducing the excessive heating makes it difficult in obtaining a more frequent repetition of stimulus.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper was supported by the Post-Doctoral Programme POSDRU/159/1.5/S/137516, project co-funded from European Social Fund through the Human Resources Sectorial Operational Programme 2007-2013.

Citation

Cretu, M. and Micu, D.D. (2015), "Improved coil design for repetitive magnetic stimulation of the spinal cord", COMPEL - The international journal for computation and mathematics in electrical and electronic engineering, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 1043-1053. https://doi.org/10.1108/COMPEL-10-2014-0253

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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