Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Overview

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarization in the neurons of the brain. 

It uses electromagnetic induction to induce weak electric currents using a rapidly changing magnetic field; this can cause activity in specific or general parts of the brain with little discomfort, allowing for study of the brain's functioning and interconnections. 

This method is intended for therapeutic purposes. It stimules the motor zone of the cerebral cortex and peripheral nervous system with magnetic impulses. The magnetic pulses of short duration can penetrate through clothes, cranium bones and soft tissues without any pain.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of several conditions, such as depression, Alzheimer etc. 

TMS uses a magnet instead of an electrical current to activate the brain. An electromagnetic coil is held against the forehead and short electromagnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The magnetic pulse easily passes through the skull, and causes small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted brain region.

Because this type of pulse generally does not reach further than two inches into the brain, scientists can select which parts of the brain will be affected and which will not be. 

The Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can be applied in:

  • Neurology: neuropathy, myelopathy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, encephalopathy, pain 
  • Psychiatry: Alzheimer disease, depression, schizophrenia.
  • Orthopaedics: reducing recovery time in fractures

This method has been tested as a treatment tool for various neurological and psychiatric disorders including migraine, stroke, Parkinson's disease, dystonia, tinnitus and depression.