Maximizing brain networks engagement via individualized connectome-wide target search

Arianna Menardi, Davide Momi, Antonino Vallesi, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Emma K. Towlson, Emiliano Santarnecchi
Brain Stimulation
October 13, 2022



In recent years, the possibility to noninvasively interact with the human brain has led to unprecedented diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities. However, the vast majority of approved interventions and approaches still rely on anatomical landmarks and rarely on the individual structure of networks in the brain, drastically reducing the potential efficacy of neuromodulation.


Here we implemented a target search algorithm leveraging on mathematical tools from Network Control Theory (NCT) and whole brain connectomics analysis. By means of computational simulations, we aimed to identify the optimal stimulation target(s)— at the individual brain level— capable of reaching maximal engagement of the stimulated networks’ nodes.


At the model level, in silico predictions suggest that stimulation of NCT-derived cerebral sites might induce significantly higher network engagement, compared to traditionally employed neuromodulation sites, demonstrating NCT to be a useful tool in guiding brain stimulation. Indeed, NCT allows us to computationally model different stimulation scenarios tailored on the individual structural connectivity profiles and initial brain states.


The use of NCT to computationally predict TMS pulse propagation suggests that individualized targeting is crucial for more successful network engagement. Future studies will be needed to verify such prediction in real stimulation scenarios.

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