The first known brain stimulation attempts using electromagnetic stimulation goes as early as 1896 when Jacques-Arsene d”Arsonval of Paris and Silvanus P. Thompson showed the first ever prototype in London. However, it was not until 1985 when Anthony Barker and his team showed the first successful demonstration of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, England.
How Was it Done?
Barker and his team essentially took a leaf out of Michael Faraday’s book. They made a single Faraday coil and place it above the left prefrontal cortex using a motor strip and saw the right hand moved. Barker’s team first did the experiment on themselves. This single yet monumental experiment created ripples within the medical community. The result created excitement and interest in the international research community about using TMS for various medical usages. Because of such feat producing concrete proof that electromagnetic stimulation of the brain showed a direct tissue response, the medical community credited Anthony Barker as the inventor of TMS.
Brain Stimulation Research Studies
Since its discovery, there was an exponential growth of different international studies on brain stimulation. Majority of these studies focuses on the use of TMS in treating different mental disorders, side effects, and most importantly – its efficacy. Today the field has garnered enough topics to have its own called Brain Stimulation.
Health Canada was the first government body to approve the use of TMS in 1997. Soon after, it got its first official use in treating resistant depression in 2002. The US Food and Drug Administration approved TMS therapy in 2008 after taking into consideration its risk and efficacy.
Today, TMS machine uses electromagnetic wave pulses similar to an MRI machine; it’s generally safe for everyone. Medical providers placed the coil near the prefrontal cortex of the brain associated with depression symptoms. The electromagnetic waves suppress overacting brain regions while activating inactive brain cells. This creates a new chemical balance within the brain structures thus relieving the patients with the depressive symptoms. It’s a simple procedure that does not require any hospitalization, anesthesia, or surgeries. Patients undergoing TMS therapy are kept fully awake and can immediately resume their daily routine following the session.
Some studies even show that lasting effect of TMS without relapse and even without taking antidepressant medications. Numerous research studies have been published since its approval and TMS therapy consistently show great promise of treating resistant major depressive disorder and other mental health diseases.
Just recently, the 2nd International Conference on Brain Stimulation Conference in Barcelona, Spain held on March 6, 2017, awarded Anthony Barker, Ph.D. the International Brain Stimulation award. About a thousand or more people from across the globe attended the conference with professionals from a myriad of disciplines such as neurosurgeons, neurologists, biomedical engineers, psychiatrists, and researchers.
The conference was a great platform for speakers from the international community to present their data and research about the different types of brain stimulation topics. For several days, topics like TMS, deep TMS, ECT, vagus nerve stimulation, effects of ultrasound on brain tissue, and other invasive brain stimulation were presented to the public.
But the highlights of the studies include topics of the potential uses and indications for TMS therapy. Some experts showed different types of research about the future use of TMS for treating addictions such as cocaine, opiates, alcohol, nicotine and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. There was even a research that shows great promise for the potential benefits of TMS in treating pain sufferers and for stroke rehabilitation.
With its success of treating major depressive disorders with no or minimal side effects, TMS therapy is the focus of widespread research studies. TMS providers continue to seek and explore its uses in treating various disorders.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and the unpleasant side effects of conventional antidepressant medications make the experience even more excruciating. Some of the most common adverse effects of these medications include irritability, sleep disturbance, nausea, fatigue, constipation, and sexual dysfunction. Even though these drugs come in strict and high dosages, they fail to relieve depression symptoms in more than half of the patients.
Fortunately, with the invention of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, people suffering from the disorder can have better options for treatment. More and more people are switching to TMS therapy as their main treatment to fight MDD.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of TMS in 2008 as an alternative treatment option for MDD. This state of the art depression treatment consistently shows excellent results in treating depressive disorders even for severe cases.
TMS is a type of brain stimulation therapy using electromagnetic wave pulses which targets specific brain region (left prefrontal cortex) associated with depressive disorder. The technique stimulates underactive neurons while suppressing the overactive regions, thus rebalances the brain chemistry. As a result, it regulates mood that helps improve sleep quality and behavior with minimal side effects.
Once the patient undergoes TMS treatment, sessions will usually last for about four to six weeks in a series of five sessions per week. Each treatment session usually last for about 40 minutes and the patient is kept fully awake and alert in a very comfortable setup. Healthcare professional place a coil on top of the patient’s head near the forehead as the electromagnetic pulses targets the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The painless yet effective magnetic waves travel into the brain with a standard depth of 2.5 centimeters. Usually, patients feel nothing during the TMS session, but there are some cases patients can feel a slight tapping on the scalp.
Since TMS does not involve any medications or surgeries, patients can watch TV or listen to music during the treatment sessions. Patients can immediately resume their daily activity following the treatment session.
Side Effects of TMS
This advanced technology targets a specific area of the brain for optimal results without increasing risks. As a non-invasive and non-systemic treatment method, TMS does not have any adverse effects and side effects are minimal. Many clinical studies supported this notion; TMS side effect is all well tolerated with only a few minimal side effects that tend to dissipate and transient as the session continues.
Some of the known side effects of TMS include:
- Discomfort where the magnet was placed – some patients reported having scalp irritation with mild to a moderate intensity where the coil was placed during the TMS treatment
- Dizziness – during the first few treatment session, patients may feel dizziness but reported to subsides as soon as the session ends.
- Lightheadedness – In rare occasions, patients may feel lightheadedness along with a dizziness and mild headache but soon dissipates after the first few sessions.
- Mild to a moderate headache – perhaps the most common side effects of TMS, but just like the other side effects, patients reported having improved after TMS treatment.
- Slight tingling sensation – few patients reported feeling slight tingling sensation in the head near where the coil was placed. But this gradually subsides after the first to two weeks of sessions.
Risks of TMS
As great as the TMS treatment for patients suffering from MDD especially to those who failed several times in the conventional treatment method, TMS isn’t for everyone.
There are some contradictions in using TMS. The machine uses electromagnetic waves similar to what an MRI produce and there are certain limitations. Patients with ferromagnetic, conductive, and other magnetic sensitive implants in their heads and other non-removable metallic implants cannot undergo TMS treatment. As well as patients with pacemakers, implanted electrodes/stimulators, bullet fragments, aneurysm clips or coils, and cochlear implants can have serious injury or death if they undergo treatment.
It is important to have a thorough medical assessment and other appropriate cautionary measures should be taken before considering TMS treatment. Some patients may have increased risk of seizure based on medical or genetic history. Patients should always follow strict guidelines and medical advice during the entire treatment sessions. Taking any medications should be first consulted with the health care provider as some can cause tinnitus and may increase the risk of seizure. Up to now, there are no reported incidences of TMS causing tumors or any type of cancer. It does not interfere with memory or concentration.
Depression is lethal disease, depriving a person to fully experience the joy of living. Even with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, many people still live in the shadows of deep despair. Undergoing TMS therapy can bring back the joy of living and having those missed opportunities of precious moments with loved ones back.
For a consultation or to set up an appointment for TMS therapy in near Palm Beach Gardens, contact us right away.
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.