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Transcranial magnetic stimulation

3 min read

What it is

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive neurostimulation technique that involves the use of a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It’s primarily used for therapeutic purposes and has applications in both clinical and research settings.

How it works

  1. Device: TMS consists of a magnetic coil device, which is usually placed on or near the scalp. This coil is responsible for generating the magnetic field.
  2. Magnetic field: When an electric current passes through the coil, it creates a rapidly changing magnetic field. This magnetic field can then penetrate the skull and influence the underlying neural tissue.
  3. Stimulation of neurons: The changing magnetic field induces small electric currents in the targeted brain region. This, in turn, depolarizes neurons (activates nerve cells) in the area.
  4. Effects on brain activity: Depending on the parameters of the stimulation, TMS can either increase or decrease neural activity in the targeted region. This modulation of brain activity is shown to have therapeutic effects and is being explored as a treatment for various neurological and psychiatric conditions.

What it treats

  • Depression: TMS has been approved by regulatory agencies in the United States as a treatment for certain forms of depression, particularly when other treatments have not been effective.
  • Neuropathic pain: It is being studied for its potential in managing chronic pain conditions and we will also be assisting in the research at our facility.
  • Research tool: TMS is widely used as a research tool in neuroscience to understand brain function. It allows researchers to temporarily and selectively manipulate brain activity in a controlled manner.
  • Neurological and psychiatric disorders: TMS is under investigation for its potential to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others. It’s important to note that while TMS is generally considered safe, it should be administered by trained professionals, and its use for specific conditions should be guided by medical professionals based on individual circumstances.