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Our studies have demonstrated effective stimulation of the bladder, bowel, and expiratory muscles in patients with spinal cord injury using functional magnetic stimulation, However, one limitation of the magnetic coils (MC) is related to their inability to specifically stimulate the target tissue without activation of surrounding tissue. The primary goal of this study was to determine the governing parameters in the MC design, such as coil configuration, diameter, and number of turns in one loop of the coil. By varying these parameters, our approach was to design, construct, and evaluate the induced electric field distributions of two sets of novel MC's. Based on the slinky coil design, the first set of coils was constructed to compare their abilities in generating induced electric fields for focal nerve excitation. The second set of coils was built to determine the effect that changes in two parameters, coil diameter and number of turns in one loop, had on field penetration. The results showed that the slinky coil design produced more focalized stimulation when compared to the planar round coils. The primary-to-secondary peak ratios of the induced electric field from slinky 1 to 5 were 1.00, 2.20, 2.85, 2.62, and 3.53. We also determined that coils with larger diameters had better penetration than those with smaller diameters. Coils with less number of turns in one loop had higher initial field strengths; when compared to coils that had more turns per loop, initial field strengths remained higher as distance from the coil increased. In our attempt to customize MC design according to each functional magnetic stimulation application and patients of different sizes, the parameters of MC explored in this study may facilitate designing an optimal MC for a certain clinical application.
Date of Publication: May 2000