Our entire body is controlled by the Central Nervous System. Our nerves are sprawled all over our body, sending minute messages to other cells, making them act. It can be as simple as making muscle cells contract and expand, which is currently allowing your eyes to move and read this. Likewise, the network of nerves controls everything else that makes you tick.
They don’t always work the way they should. In some cases, your eyelids may twitch all of a sudden. This is due to a small deficiency in nutrients. Other times, you might wake up, but your entire body isn’t awake. This is called sleep paralysis and could have many causes.
In terms diseases that disrupt your body’s harmony with your brain, one example is Parkinson’s disease. The disease affects your nerves and Dopamine, the chemical in the brain responsible for “positive feelings” and the smooth function of your muscles.
With Parkinson’s disease, the nerves in your body responsible for making dopamine, break down. This causes issues with the way your nerves send signals to your muscles.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
The symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are as follows:
- Stiff muscles and joints.
- Slow muscular responses, or slow reflex.
- Difficulting in sustaining muscle tension, such as holding a glass of water.
- Problems with balance, such as walking or jumping.
No Known Cure
Parkinson’s Disease does not have a cure yet, nor do we know what directly causes it. What we know so far is what can affect it, and what’s common among people who have it. The effect is not immediate and will slowly progress as you age.
With the right treatment, people can live relatively good lives before the disease really sets in. In some cases though, the medication required for treatment could be incompatible with some people.
TMS to Treat Parkinson’s Disease
There is hope though, in the form of a non-invasive procedure known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The process is as simple as aiming an electromagnet on your head and sending a harmless pulse of electromagnetism. It may sound simple, but the implications are numerous. It has been used before as a way to make a functional map of the brain. TMS can also be used to map damage in the brain.
Now, it’s being used for the treatment of Severe Depression and Migraine. There are more conditions already in clinical trial, along with Parkinson’s Disease. What might be the best part of this is that TMS has very few side effects, especially when compared to traditional medication. Additionally, long-term side effects are practically nonexistent.
What makes TMS a hopeful treatment for Parkinson’s disease is TMS’s first intended use. TMS quickly became a way to map out the finer functions of our central nervous system. This allowed researchers to map out the “corticospinal system.” This system is what controls our movements, from the tiniest twitch to the strongest blows. They found out that stimulating regions of the corticospinal system improved motor functions.
Further Research Offers Real Hope
This allowed a better understanding of the disease, and stands as proof that TMS therapy could one day help people with Parkinson’s. Several clinical trials have found that TMS benefits parkinson’s patients and more studies are ongoing. Recent findings suggest that though they don’t have an established way to treat Parkinson’s, the information can guide current treatment decisions and pave the way for future research.
We know you have questions about TMS, how it works, whether it’s a good treatment option for you, and if your insurance will cover it. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help answer your questions and get you set up with your first appointment.
Research into the way our brains work has progressed exponentially over the last few decades. We are the only life on earth that looks into ourselves, what makes us tick, what makes us think, and what makes us, us. Our brains function through signals, powered by electricity created by our own body.
We’ve tried to master the way the brain utilizes electricity. This started by directly inserting pins that delivered charges to the brain. The brain responded, allowing us to get a rough map of what part of the brain controls which part of the body. Afterwards, we experimented to make practice safer and more beneficial. Still, we continued to search for other methods since inserting pins into the brain is, well, pretty scary.
There are many technological leaps made in this field like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Another path we took is through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
What is TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
It needs three things: an electromagnetic coil, a machine to deliver precise electric signals, and your brain. The electromagnetic coil delivers a weak magnetic pulse that stimulates brain cells. The stimulation causes neurons to react. This produces certain effects that could be benign or beneficial to people. As far as the research is going, it’s positive.
Adverse Effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
With positive effects always come adverse effects. Like all medicine, the goal is to produce as much benefit while minimizing the negative effects. The procedure can cause loud “taps”, simulating sound. Some patients can have their hearing lessened for an hour or two. In some rare cases, it can cause fainting and minor memory impairment. The cases are isolated but possible.
Uses of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
TMS is used to diagnose damage from stroke, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, injuries and other damages to the neurons, both in the brain and the spinal cord. The effects are measured, allowing doctors to get a proper map of which functions are compromised.
It’s also used to treat major depression. According to research, it has effects on slowing down addiction. With continued therapy, it allows effective suppression of mental impulses due to addiction and withdrawal.
The same effects were shown to have improvements in treating migraine and other neuropathic pain. This is recommended for conditions where regular treatment of drugs are ineffective, or if the patient cannot tolerate the regular treatments
Future Implications of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
The potential benefit of TMS is not fully embraced yet. But further research shows positive results for treating Autism Spectrum and Aspergers. There are also aspirations and speculation about the use of TMS in furthering brain development. There’s prospective data that may suggest TMS can help stimulate brain cells. Its effect on depression also shows potential for treating other psychological disorders. This can range from emotional or mood disorders caused by trauma or other pathological reason.
Clinical trials are still ongoing. The effects of electromagnetism on the brain is still in its infancy, but as time passes, our technology evolves exponentially.
We live in a more mentally-compromised world today – at least there is much more awareness of mental health now. There are 350 million people who suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization. At least 16 million of those people live in the United States. There are 40 million Americans whose lives are negatively-impacted by Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety disorders often come coupled with other disorders, like substance abuse, depression, and more. Obsessive compulsive disorder affects 2.2 Americans as well. Due to the many disorders that debilitate the population today, millions of prescriptions are given. This has a ton of profound side effects that are sometimes arguably worse than the conditions being treated.
Solutions a Worldwide Epidemic
That is why research is being done to find ways that can help the mental situation the world is living in. The search for an effective panacea for mental illnesses is continuing day-by-day. One of the most promising cures that have little to no negative long-term impact is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
TMS encourages the neural pathways that focuses on the limbic system. It encourages it to do more of its work. This, in turn, fosters more positive chemicals in the brain to counteract the effects of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. People who suffer from depression and anxiety have a weakened limbic system that does not function “normally”. Rather than getting prescription pills to carry chemicals that force your brain to function in an unnatural manner, TMS simply uses magnetic vibrations to stimulate the limbic system.
TMS Side Effects
There is little to no negative side effects when someone goes through TMS therapy. The most common complaint is just a minor headache. This is expected since the brain is stimulated much more than what it normally goes through. This is similar to someone who has just started working out and is feeling some muscle pain. TMS functions like working out, but it targets very specific areas. Can you imagine doing 15000 push-ups and 10000 laps around the gym? That is what TMS does but in a more scientific way. Since the areas of the brain that fosters positive sensations does not get to produce a lot of activity, the therapy session makes those areas of the brain to work more.
Why do TMS don’t have a lot of negative side effects? This is because this kind of therapy is both non-invasive and non-systemic. It is non-invasive because it does not open up your body with cuts like a surgical operation. It is non-systemic because you do not ingest it orally. This is unlike antidepressant drugs and other prescription pills. A surgical operation has the risk of complications. Plus, taking oral medicine does have effects that are not wanted and not intended, like damage to the liver and kidney.
Major Results, Minor Problems
If you go through a TMS session, the most unwanted side effect would either be some minor headaches throughout a day or at most a few days. Other side effects include minor hearing impairments and discomfort in some areas of your head. Studies have shown no negative side effects for 257 patients, with 45% of those patients reporting complete remission. Another study regarding TMS includes more than 800 patients surveyed. Other than a headache for a few days that can come and go, no negative long-term side effects were seen.
TMS is Worth Looking Into
Imagine the liberating feeling of no longer being chained by your depression or your anxiety. To put the icing on the cake, there are no long-term side effects as proven by real-life medical case studies. You can have a more joyful life without the medicines and you give the happy area of the brain more exercise. You can get that only through TMS. To learn more, Contact TMS of the Palm Beaches today.