Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that has been increasingly used in both research and clinical settings over the past few decades. TMS works by delivering magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain, which can either excite or inhibit neural activity depending on the parameters of the stimulation. In this article, we will discuss the history, mechanisms, and applications of TMS.
History of TMS
The discovery of TMS can be traced back to the 19th century, when scientists first observed that passing an electrical current through a wire near the head could cause a sensation of light. However, it was not until the 1980s that the first TMS device was developed, which used a coil of wire to deliver magnetic pulses to the brain. Since then, TMS has become an increasingly popular tool in neuroscience research, and has also been approved for use in some clinical applications.
Mechanisms of TMS
TMS works by using a coil of wire to generate a magnetic field that can penetrate the skull and induce electrical currents in the underlying brain tissue. The strength and direction of the magnetic field can be controlled by varying the parameters of the stimulation, such as the intensity, frequency, and duration of the pulses.
The most commonly used type of TMS is called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which delivers a series of pulses at a particular frequency over a period of time. Low-frequency rTMS (usually 1 Hz) is thought to inhibit neural activity in the stimulated area, while high-frequency rTMS (usually 10-20 Hz) is thought to excite neural activity.
Another type of TMS, called theta burst stimulation (TBS), delivers a pattern of pulses at a specific frequency that can also either excite or inhibit neural activity, depending on the parameters of the stimulation.
Applications of TMS
TMS has been used in a variety of research and clinical applications, including:
Research on brain function: TMS can be used to temporarily disrupt or enhance neural activity in specific areas of the brain, allowing researchers to study the role of these areas in various cognitive and behavioral functions.
Treatment of depression: TMS has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression that has not responded to other treatments. The stimulation is usually delivered to the left prefrontal cortex at a frequency of 10 Hz, and the treatment typically involves multiple sessions over several weeks.
Treatment of other psychiatric disorders: TMS has also been studied as a potential treatment for other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.
Treatment of neurological disorders: TMS has been studied as a potential treatment for a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.
Enhancement of cognitive function: TMS has been studied as a potential tool for enhancing cognitive function in healthy individuals, including working memory, attention, and language processing.
TMS is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that has become increasingly popular in both research and clinical settings. By delivering magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain