Reliability of TMS phosphene threshold estimation: Toward a standardized protocol

Mazzi, C., Savassi, S., Abrahamyan, A. and Ruzzoli, M. (2017) Reliability of TMS phosphene threshold estimation: Toward a standardized protocol. Brain Stimulation, 10(3), pp. 609-617. (doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2017.01.582) (PMID:28209346)

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Background: Phosphenes induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are a subjectively described visual phenomenon employed in basic and clinical research as index of the excitability of retinotopically organized areas in the brain. Objective: Phosphene threshold estimation is a preliminary step in many TMS experiments in visual cognition for setting the appropriate level of TMS doses; however, the lack of a direct comparison of the available methods for phosphene threshold estimation leaves unsolved the reliability of those methods in setting TMS doses. The present work aims at fulfilling this gap. Methods: We compared the most common methods for phosphene threshold calculation, namely the Method of Constant Stimuli (MOCS), the Modified Binary Search (MOBS) and the Rapid Estimation of Phosphene Threshold (REPT). In two experiments we tested the reliability of PT estimation under each of the three methods, considering the day of administration, participants' expertise in phosphene perception and the sensitivity of each method to the initial values used for the threshold calculation. Results: We found that MOCS and REPT have comparable reliability when estimating phosphene thresholds, while MOBS estimations appear less stable. Conclusions: Based on our results, researchers and clinicians can estimate phosphene threshold according to MOCS or REPT equally reliably, depending on their specific investigation goals. We suggest several important factors for consideration when calculating phosphene thresholds and describe strategies to adopt in experimental procedures.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:M.R. was supported by Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral fellowship (JCI-2012-12335) from the Spanish Government.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruzzoli, Dr Manuela
Authors: Mazzi, C., Savassi, S., Abrahamyan, A., and Ruzzoli, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Brain Stimulation
ISSN (Online):1935-861X
Published Online:02 February 2017

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