TMS allows noninvasive manipulation of brain activity in healthy participants and patients. The effectiveness of TMS experiments critically depends on precise TMS coil positioning, which is best for most brain areas when a frameless stereotactic system is used to target activation foci based on individual fMRI data. From a purely scientific perspective, individual fMRI-guided TMS is thus the method of choice to ensure optimal TMS efficiency. Yet, from a more practical perspective, such individual functional data are not always available, and therefore alternative TMS coil positioning approaches are often applied, for example, based on functional group data reported in Talairach coordinates. We here propose a novel method for TMS coil positioning that is based on functional group data, yet only requires individual anatomical data. We used cortex-based alignment (CBA) to transform individual anatomical data to an atlas brain that includes probabilistic group maps of two functional regions (FEF and hMT+/V5). Then, these functional group maps were back-transformed to the individual brain anatomy, preserving functional–anatomical correspondence. As a proof of principle, the resulting CBA-based functional targets in individual brain space were compared with individual FEF and hMT+/V5 hotspots as conventionally localized with individual fMRI data and with targets based on Talairach coordinates as commonly done in TMS research in case only individual anatomical data are available. The CBA-based approach significantly improved localization of functional brain areas compared with traditional Talairach-based targeting. Given the widespread availability of CBA schemes and preexisting functional group data, the proposed procedure is easy to implement and at no additional measurement costs. However, the accuracy of individual fMRI-guided TMS remains unparalleled, and the CBA-based approach should only be the method of choice when individual functional data cannot be obtained or experimental factors argue against it.

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