All antidepressant medications are the previous treatment for depression but the instances of patients not responding in this way are growing. But with the development of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a non-invasive brain stimulation method has been guaranteed and approved by many specialists in treating different common illnesses.
FDA approved, TMS offers a safe and non-invasive technique for motor cortex stimulation. Today, many research and studies surrounding TMS show significant positive results in treating neurological and psychiatric disorders like mood and movement disorders.
TMS for Other Disorders
On the other hand, TMS is also useful in other cases like different mood disorders and can also be recommended to treat chronic neuropathic pain. The modifications in neuronal structure will also cause for instant relief of mechanism in cortical stimulation. Most of the patients suffering major depression will cause a morbidity associated with most serious pain. But with TMS procedure at hand, a modern-day solution is a now available solution that will bring a positive cure as well in cases of insomnia that most patients suffer chronic lower back pain. TMS method can no effectively and safely treat cases of depression and insomnia
People suffering from insomnia often associated with chronic lower back pain can benefit well in TMS treatment. TMS can help patients suffering from insomnia by using low frequency in inhibitory influence on the hyper cortical state.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in the world. Many people suffer from the difficulty of sleeping which affects their overall health condition. Sleep deprivation may lead to serious mood disorders, fatigue, lethargic, anemic, decrease performances, empty brain, etc.
It’s a common disorder that mostly affects women than men and it can happen to all ages. Adults are prone to experience insomnia than younger people, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The Center for Disease Control considers insomnia as a serious public health problem. A good cycle of sleep pattern is vital in daily living. The common effects are seen in various circumstances such as vehicular accidents, occupational disturbances.
Insomnia has its own structural patterns and has its own manifestations. Some of the following conditions include abnormal sleep, unconscious activity like walking, disturbances in sleep, less hour of sleep, fatigue, low energy, decrease interest in work, and poor performance at school.
Serious insomnia makes you suffer for consecutive nights a week for a longer period of time. It’s important to know the early signs of insomnia to initiate proper medical treatment. Delaying medical attention can trigger other serious health problems. It is a condition of body weakness, abnormal sleep or switching of time of sleep instead of night, irritable moods, and memory loss or problem.
Causes of Insomnia
The exact cause of insomnia is not known to medical science. There are many factors that can trigger insomnia which varies in each person, makes it harder to diagnose and treat the disorder. However, there are several common factors that can trigger insomnia such as an irregular pattern of sleep and no regular time of sleep schedule. Other environment possibilities include family problems, unemployment, physical aspects, like pain and some diseases, emotional problems like stress, anger, and many more.
In cases of chronic insomnia, some triggering factors include body illness, deep emotional problems like depression and may lead to physical collapse and leads to death.
Conventional Treatments Methods
Doctors usually treat insomnia using prescribed medications. Other options include educating a good sleep order, taking vitamins or sleeping tablets for establishing sleep order. However, these conventional treatments can lead to drug dependence even drug addiction in the long term.
The Safe Alternative Treatment Option
Within the past decades, medical professionals use different medications to promote better sleep hoping to treat insomnia. However, these medications are commonly not well tolerated. Fortunately, TMS research studies show significant progress in treating insomnia.
Recent studies in patients undergoing TMS for major depression show significant improvement in their sleep patterns after each session. This makes it a good candidate treatment for curing chronic insomnia.
TMS uses magnetic stimulation to work directly on the nerve brain cells associated with chronic insomnia. As a non-invasive procedure, it does not provide any major side effects to patients. It does not need any medications, which makes it safe for all. TMS is a simple procedure done inside a doctor’s office that doesn’t take long and is an outpatient procedure. Contact us today to learn more.
More than 100 years in the making, we take a brief glance back at its origin and the concepts behind developing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
The idea of using electromagnetic currents to stimulate different body parts particularly the human brain in an attempt to treat various diseases can be traced back more than 100 years ago. It was the time where medical science began exploring the possibilities of electromagnetic efficacy. Unfortunately, technology at that time cannot keep up with the changing times and these studies are not approved by scientific data.
Theory Behind TMS
Anthony Barker and his colleagues first introduced the modern Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) device what we know today in 1985. However, the physics behind the TMS machine originated from Michael Faraday and Ampere’s law.
Faraday’s theory used electromagnetic induction and that voltage can be measured and changed when generated across a length of wire – if the wire was left exposed to a perpendicular magnetic field flux of alternating intensity. Also, Ampere’s law state that the magnetic field can be managed around an electric current is proportional to the electric current.
TMS uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate an area of the brain associated with depression. This activates neurons to rewire making emotions and mood behavior more manageable. When these electromagnetic pulses passed through a coil going to the head, the brain will be permeated easily. These activated the neurons directly without any serious adverse effects.
When these electromagnetic pulses intensified or rapidly changed, it generates a depolarizing effect in the brain nerve cells thus releasing neurotransmitters that regulate brain functions.
During the mid-1900’s researchers from the field of Psychiatry began exploring the effect of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS in treating depressive disorders. After its initial start, more studies followed suit, focusing on the use of rTMS as a safe and alternative treatment for various mental disorders aside from depression.
Within a decade, around 90 clinical trials and several meta-analyses recommend the use and effects of rTMS in treating major depression.
Getting FDA Approval
Following the success of these different clinical trials, and based on the study of O’Reardon et al of using rTMS in the treatment-resistant major depression of 301 patients, the US Food and Drug Administration approved its use. TMS got its FDA approval in treating patients with the major depressive disorder.
The study shows how TMS can significantly improve the overall patient’s mood in comparison to conventional medications. Using TMS as part of depression management treatment proved as a safer and better alternative. Several years later, FDA finally announced in 2008 their approval of using rTMS machine as a major depression treatment.
Having a positive feedback from the FDA proved as a good starting point for rTMS in the management of Treatment-Resistant Depression. TMS efficacy in treating patients suffering from Treatment Resistant Depression is a major breakthrough in medical science. This devastating mental disease incapacitates millions of people, taking away their vitality and enthusiasm to live a normal life. Thus, the discovery of TMS and its usage is a great leap in providing these people another take on life.
Another pivotal study
Today, another version of TMS called deep rTMS or dTMS study which targets deeper brain structures had already started.
Launched in 2009, Dr. Xia’s research team at UC Davis started the endeavor of using dTMS for major depression. The study yielded very satisfactory findings. The remission rate of dTMS decreases for people with major depression by almost 50%. Enrolled patients comprised of highly treatment-resistant people who failed on their 2 or more medications in current index depression episode.
Because of its success and significant findings, the FDA approved the clinical use of dTMS immediately. As the study included patients who failed several times in their medication or already acquired intolerance to conventional treatment methods.
Right after this study, TMS became even more popular and widely accepted alternative treatment. More clinics started to accept its concept. Along with this, TMS convinced medical professionals and insurance coverage of its long-term benefits over other medications as well as ECT.
TMS Side Effects
Unlike other medications such as antidepressants, TMS does not have any systemic effects including sexual dysfunction, weight gain, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, headaches, constipation, sweating, anxiety, or sleepiness.
TMS does not produce any cognitive impairment as what ECT treatment produces. Patients who received ECT treatment usually suffer from memory impairment due to anesthesia or any muscle relaxant medications.
During TMS session, patients remain fully awake and alert on their environment. As TMS does not produce any major side effects, patients can immediately resume their daily activity. To this date, there are no reports that TMS had produced any long-term or life-threatening side effects.
Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT is a treatment procedure which uses small electric currents emitted directly through the brain. Usually done under general anesthesia, it involves triggering a quick and rapid seizure.
The procedure intentionally causes alterations in the brain chemistry in which can reduce symptoms of certain mental disorders. Medical practitioners often result using ECT when other treatments failed to treat a particular mental disorder. However, ECT may not work for everyone as involves painful sensations and medication like anesthesia. A huge number of patients suffered from memory loss, fractured bones, and other adverse side effects.
Some clinics may claim to administer ECT but side effects vary from severe to worse:
Patients may suffer confusion almost immediately after treatment. This can last from few minutes to several hours, some reported to have confusion for several days longer. Confusion tends to be more noticeable in older patients.
Memory loss is one of the most common side effects of ECT and patients have trouble remembering events that occurred months or weeks before treatment. Doctors characterized this condition as retrograde amnesia. Some patients may claim to have trouble calling events weeks prior to treatment.
Aside from these adverse effects, there are other physical side effects of ECT. Some people suffer from a headache, nausea, muscle pain, or jaw pain. Because ECT is an invasive and systemic procedure, there is some medical complication involve due to the use of anesthesia. Increase heart rate and blood pressure are amongst the most common problems during ECT procedure. Unfortunately, these problems can cause serious heart complications. Medical professional advise against ECT if patient experience or have a history of heart disorders.
Who Qualifies for ECT?
Before ECT procedure can commence, patients undergo an intense full evaluation which usually includes the following:
- A complete physical exam
- A medical history
- A psychiatric assessment
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) to check patient’s heart health
- Anesthesiologist review to go over the risks of anesthesia
- Several basic blood tests
Most patients suffering from mental disorders failed to respond positively to conventional treatments. But instead of falling into despair, medical science offers a relatively new, safe and efficient alternative treatment, the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. It’s a noninvasive, non-systemic procedure that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of certain mental disorders. Medical professionals usually use TMS as the last option when no other treatments fail.
How it Works
During TMS treatment session, medical professional place an electromagnetic coil near the prefrontal cortex of the patient. This coil emits painless electromagnetic pulses that stimulate brain nerve cells associated with mood control and depression. These regions in the brain often have decreased activity in people suffering from depression. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of TMS as it can effectively ease depression symptoms and noticeably improve overall mood.
Most people can respond positively to the conventional treatment of depression but these medications are not for everyone. Some standards form of treatments losses their efficacy over time due to drug tolerance and other factors. TMS treatment used is often recommended for patients who do not respond accordingly to conventional treatments like medications and psychotherapy.
As a non-invasive form of brain stimulation, TMS results to fewer risks or none at all as a brain stimulation procedure used for depression. Like another form of nerve stimulation like vagus or ECT, TMS does not require any surgery or implantation of electrodes in the body. TMS does not require any sedation and does not cause any seizure whether intentional or not.
The FDA and other medical organization considered TMS as a well-tolerated, safe, and efficient alternative treatment to cure depression disorders. However, it may cause some mild side effects which eventually go away in the course of the treatment duration.
Some of the common side effects comprise of mild to moderate and improved shortly after each session. These side effects decrease over time and may include the following:
Side effects are generally mild to moderate and improve shortly after an individual session and decrease over time with additional sessions. They may include:
- A headache
- Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
- Tingling, spasms or twitching of facial muscles
What You Can Expect
TMS treatment sessions are done inside the doctor’s office on an outpatient basis. Typically last about few minutes or an hour. Patients can immediately resume their daily activity after each session for a period of five times a week for four to six weeks.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a condition found in the central nervous system and known as an autoimmune disease that has an inflammatory condition. Unfortunately, there is no known cure or prevention method for the disease. Multiple Sclerosis affects the whole nervous system and as of 2008, an estimated 2 million people suffer from this condition worldwide.
Over the course of years, different brain stimulation techniques had been tested to treat multiple sclerosis. Many clinical researchers and scientists believed in the potentials of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to help patients with multiple sclerosis to live a better life.
Conventional Treatment Methods
Different studies developed several modifying drugs that can reduce the attacks and avoid relapse within the past decades. Although the drugs reduce the pain associated with the disease, the treatment is not widely available. Certain conventional treatment methods focus on the number of attacks and in the recovery of multiple sclerosis patients.
Since there is no cure available, Multiple Sclerosis treatments usually focus on slowing down the progression of the disease and managing its symptoms. The main goal of treatments is to lessen ameliorate symptoms affecting the functional capability of the patients which hinders them from getting the most out of their lives.
Many of the conventional treatment available to manage Multiple Sclerosis symptoms are still “off-label” in most countries. Even though many of these medications are properly investigated but yet approved by local health authorities.
Because of the dire need to have a proper medical management treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, many researchers are trying to develop a newer and safer alternative treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.
Depression Co-occurring with Multiple Sclerosis
About 50% of Multiple Sclerosis patients also suffer from depressive symptoms and in need of immediate medical care, especially if they have a high risk of attempted suicides. Depression hinders the ability of the patient to seek proper medical treatment. It is important to treat depression to ensure a quality treatment to better manage Multiple Sclerosis. Many prescription drugs like serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) can lessen depressive symptoms but it has severe implications and side effects. Antidepressant medications often lead to drug addiction, worsening the situation.
The most common depressive symptoms which can co-exist with Multiple Sclerosis include fatigue and cognitive disturbance. According to the 29th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) may lessen depressive symptoms particularly fatigue related to Multiple Sclerosis.
TMS Success for Treating Depression in Multiple Sclerosis Patients
The efficacy of TMS stimulation to the left prefrontal cortex can last for about six weeks. The method is seen as an effective treatment for decreasing pain-related symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis patients. Stimulating this area of the brain can lessen depressive symptoms, over fatigue, and paresthesia in lower limbs for patients with little side effects, as seen in studies of at the University Hospital Zurich.
TMS produces electromagnetic pulses passed through the brain associated with mood regulation. It emits electric currents that stimulate brain cells to induce normal brain activity. Done inside a doctor’s office as an outpatient procedure, it does not interrupt with the daily normal activity of the patient.
Experts studies TMS on different Multiple Sclerosis symptoms within the past decades. TMS can effectively reduce fatigue, chronic pain, oxidative stress, and regulates mood. This newly developed technique can also be used for moderating blood-brain barrier, a significant factor in treating several autoimmune diseases.
Two types of Multiple Sclerosis
Experts claimed that TMS can be helpful in both Multiple Sclerosis-related dexterities and dysphagia problems. These are the most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis which impairs the vocal and cognitive functions. Today, there are ongoing studies about TMS that can help with spasticity in people with Multiple Sclerosis.
TMS in Treating Multiple Sclerosis
Many studies support the efficiency and success rate of TMS, particularly in deep cranial magnetic stimulation. Using this method, it can reach deeper into the brain, stimulating nerve cells producing more neurotransmitters which regulate brain chemicals. With the use of magnetic pulses, TMS can stimulate brain structures promoting better neuro connectivity and producing significant improvements to Multiple Sclerosis patients.
Because it’s a simple procedure that does not need any medical surgeries or systemic medications, it can be done as an outpatient inside a doctor’s office. There are no known severe adverse effects of TMS, unlike other conventional treatment methods. Several studies show that TMS can significantly improve body weakness and any depressive conditions signs in a consecutive 6 weeks of treatments over the motor cortex.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or simply known as TMS is a non-invasive, non-systemic procedure that stimulates brain nerve cells to treat Major Depressive Disorders. Generating magnetic waves similar to an MRI, TMS therapy is safe to use for everyone. This painless electromagnetic pulsed emits magnetic fields in specific parts of the brain associated with mood and behaviors.
Magnetic waves can reach into deeper parts of the brain without the use of pharmaceuticals or surgeries. TMS therapy is usually done inside the doctor’s office for about 30 to 45 minutes over a period of 4 to 6 weeks of treatment sessions. Since it does not require any surgeries, anesthesia, and hospitalization, patients can immediately go back to their daily lives following each treatment sessions.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of TMS as a safe and effective treatment for depressive disorders in 2008. This painless procedure was given a nod to treat patients with resistant depression symptoms when all antidepressant treatments have failed.
How Does TMS Work?
Majority of people suffering from depression failed to respond with the conventional medications and psychotherapies. Experts believed the region in the brain near the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex tends to be underactive while some parts of the brain remain overactive. This creates chemical imbalances within the brain structures causing some of the most common depressive symptoms. The electromagnetic pulses that TMS machine produce can penetrate deep into the brain that activates inactive brain cells while suppressing other brain regions without the use of medications and surgeries. TMS therapy is a safe and effective treatment option to stimulate the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and treat depressive symptoms.
During a TMS procedure, health care providers placed an insulated magnetic coil over the head of the patient. It then emits magnetic pulses that stimulate brain neurons; it’s painless yet effective method of treating depression. As a non-invasive and non-systemic method, patients can immediately go on with their daily activities following the treatment session.
Why is TMS so effective?
TMS consistently produce positive changes in neuronal activity in regions of the brain often linked in mood regulation. As the magnetic waves pass through the skull painlessly and into the brain, this triggers the brief activity of brain cells directly underneath the treatment coil. Health care providers monitor the frequency and the threshold of magnetic waves as it directly influences brain activity during TMS treatment sessions. Some recent studies suggest that stimulating the left or the right sides of the brain can have opposite effects on mood regulation. That is why all patients needing TMS treatment undergoes strict and thorough medical assessment to fully identify their particular need.
When is TMS therapy recommended?
Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy remain as the first line of treatments for Major Depressive Disorders. Unfortunately, the majority of patients failed to respond accordingly to these conventional treatment methods. If patients failed several times using pharmaceuticals, then doctors may recommend TMS therapy or to combine antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. Also, patients to who cannot tolerate medications might also consider undergoing TMS therapy.
But not everyone can undergo TMS therapy, as the machine functions like an MRI, patients with metallic implants, pacemakers, bullet fragments and the likes are prohibited from using TMS. This can interfere with such metals and may cause adverse side effects.
Who will benefit the most from TMS therapy?
Numerous research and clinical data show that patients with resistant to conventional medications respond better to TMS than others. Since TMS is a simple procedure, it does not involve the use of any pharmaceuticals that are known to have severe side effects like weight gain, irritability, sleep problems, digestive problems, and sexual dysfunctions. Patients undergo TMS therapy in a very comfortable clinical setup without the stress of having these problems.
How long does it take to see results from TMS?
Each person has their own genetic make-up, the response time from TMS therapy varies from one patient to another. Some patients reported to feel a lot better than the others; they claim to experience relief within the first week of a therapy session. In some instances, patients will notice a big difference in their symptoms within the 4th week of treatment. This huge improvement has a lasting effect on the patient, the majority of patients claim that they can function better without worrying about relapses.
However, if TMS works slowly for others it does not mean it’s not effective, some people just take a little more time to readjust the brain and create new neural pathways. But the effects are the same; it relieves depression even for patients with treatment-resistant disorders.
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.
There are several known sleep disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep deprivation and insomnia. It’s a common fact that a good night sleep is important for optimal health. Sleep, a part of the daily normal routine affects hormone levels, weight, and mood. As simple as it may look, it can have a big impact on the person’s overall health.
Most Common Sleep Disorders
Millions of people suffer from sleep disorders all over the world. The four most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.
Of all sleep disorders, insomnia is by far the most common sleep disorders. Almost half of the people had experienced its symptoms occasionally. In America, around 10% people reported suffering from chronic insomnia. Insomnia is characterized by having poor sleep quality because of the one or more of the following:
- Having difficulty sleeping at night
- Waking earlier in the morning than planes
- Waking in the middle of the night for no reason and having trouble going back to sleep
Without having a good night sleep regularly can lead to many illnesses and difficulties experienced throughout the following day. Some of the known symptoms of insomnia include:
- Decreased productivity at work or school
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling daytime sleepiness
- Lack of energy (lethargic)
- Mood swings like irritability and aggression
- Troubles keeping healthy personal and professional relationship
The second most common sleep disorder is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. It affects 20 million Americans. However, almost 80% of people with OSA may not even recognize they are experiencing the disorder. While insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder, it will take a medical professional to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Doctors diagnose sleep apnea when a person stops breathing for several seconds during the night because of blockage in the upper respiratory system. When the person sleeps, soft tissues in the throat relax which then collapse into the airway blocking oxygen from entering into the lungs. A partial blockage often results in snoring, but a full blockage can cause cessation of breathing. This occurrence is then followed by choking sounds or gasping as the body seeks for fresh air and until normal breathing resumes.
Because of the oxygen depletion, the brain partially awakens from deep sleep to force the respiratory system to breathe harder to remove the blockage. When this happens, the brain never reaches its deeper phases of sleep. The tissue, restorative bone, and cognitive functions are all affected resulting in fatigue and even lethargic feeling the following day. In severe cases, OSA can lead to all kinds of heart problems like heart attack, heart failure, and heart arrhythmia.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome or RLS affects an estimated 10% of adults and 2% of children with varying degrees of severity. RLS is characterized by the overwhelming need to move one leg or other body parts while sleeping. Some of the reported sensations of RLS include pulling, aching, itching, burning and throbbing which the only relief is to temporary movement of the legs.
The disorder is classified as sleep disorder because the constant need to move one’s body part can affect in maintaining deep sleep needed for the body to recuperate. It is the most common cause of sleep deprivation found in other disorders like excessive daytime sleepiness, forgetfulness, cognitive impairment, and depression.
One of the most common and dangerous sleep disorder reported is narcolepsy. Characterized by the inability to maintain a sleep and wakefulness cycle, it is the leading cause of vehicular accidents. More than 200,000 Americans experience from narcolepsy, with an estimated 1 in 2,000 people suffer from this disorder.
People suffering from narcolepsy experience extreme daytime sleepiness in which they fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly during the day. These “sleep attacks” can happen anytime in any activity during the day and is very dangerous when driving. Types of narcolepsy include Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS), sleep paralysis, cataplexy hallucinations, and disturbed nocturnal sleep.
To treat this sleep disorders, medical professional prescribed medications, and therapy. However, most of the prescribed medications can lead to drug dependence and addiction. Because of these, medical health professionals continue to seek an alternative and effective way to treat sleep disorders.
Safe and Alternative Cure
Some of the underlying causes of sleep disorders and not completely understood. This makes it harder to find an effective cure for the disease. The medical community feels the great need to find noninvasive tools to understand better the pathophysiology of these disorders.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is offering promising treatment for sleep disorders. As a non-invasive procedure, it is also an effective treatment to restore the integrity of the motor cortex and corticospinal projections in neurologic and psychiatric diseases.
One study shows that TMS can restore functions of the cortical and corticospinal in most sleep disorders. Some of the characteristics of sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome originate in the cortical hyperexcitability. Others had symptoms erupting in the cortical hypo excitability like obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and narcolepsy.
The mechanisms and effects of TMS can enhance the brain activity in normalizing its functions. TMS triggers brain nerve cells to continue communicating and producing newer brain connections. Experts see this opportunity to further study TMS effects and its future implications for improving other therapeutic approaches.
More than 14 million American adults suffer from clinical depression. According to researchers, by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world. Around two-thirds of people suffering from depression will have another episode of the illness during their lifetime. Existing treatment options often lead to severe side effects. In time these medications will lose their effectiveness in treating depression. These will eventually lead to a lack of adequate treatment options.
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is a newly found advance treatment for resistant depression. The US Food and Drug Administration of FDA approved TMS for clinical depression that can no longer treat with previous conventional antidepressant medications and therapies. Patients who suffer from drug-resistant treatments and medications can benefit well undergoing TMS therapy.
The medical community approved TMS because of its non-invasive procedure. TMS does not require any sedation, anesthesia on its depression treatment. It’s a simple procedure which conveniently performed right inside the doctor’s office under their supervision. Patients are kept awake and fully alert during each treatment sessions.
As a non-systemic and does not include heavy doses of drugs. Also, because TMS is a non-pharmaceutical therapy, it does not entail any drugs to circulate throughout the body. Since TMS does not involve any medical procedure or drugs, it does not have side effects associated with antidepressant medications like weight gain, nausea, sleepiness, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction.
Initially, TMS was used as depression treatment but recent studies show that this procedure can also treat different brain disorders. Doctors used TMS to treat a wide range of mental disorders like generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tinnitus and cognitive impairments.
Some of the benefits of TMS include:
TMS active a large area of the Prefrontal Cortex
TMS delivers highly focus magnetic field pulses to the prefrontal cortex of the brain – to stimulate the area of the brain associated with depression. The procedure produces short bursts of magnetic pulses through the scalp and it triggers the neurons locally as it targets the areas of the brain. The pulses which the TMS machine produces are similar to what the MRI imaging scan emits. As the TMS machine produces these pulses, it stimulates the deeper and broader area of the brain linked to depression.
An effective depression treatment
Many can attest to the excellent efficacy of TMS therapy. Several studies support the effectiveness of this state of the art technique. During the 4 to 8 weeks of TMS treatment phase, clinically depressed people show a promising recovery that persists into the long term. The success of TMS treatment grows steadily over the years as newer treatment parameters have been discovered along with strategic targeting in the brain’s area. Even for people who undergone electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, they show significant recovery from depression.
Shorter treatment time
The average treatment for TMS therapy lasts for about 4 to 8 weeks. During this time, patients can already notice great improvements in their overall well-being. Studies show that the improvements noted in the patient lasted for several years without any significant relapse. This saves a lot of time and money for both the providers and the patient. Compare to antidepressant medications and therapies, TMS offers a safe and effective treatment for depression.
Other Benefits of TMS
Unlike the conventional depression treatments, TMS therapy does not produce systemic side effects like sedation, nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, dry mouth. There are no reports of either memory loss or inability to concentrate which are both links to antidepressants.
Several clinical trials show that TMS therapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients who do not respond to previous antidepressant medications. TMS therapy offers very few side effects which are generally well tolerated by most patients. The most common side effect of TMS includes a slight scalp irritation and mild headache during the first week of treatment but will eventually subside.
Autism is a complex condition in the brain which impairs communication and social interactions. It affects 1 out of 80 Americans on average, even more so when you consider the world. Autism has a lot of varied symptoms and severities that it’s called “Autism Spectrum Disorder” to help encompass all of it.
The cause of Autism is about as varied as its symptoms. In some cases, it’s caused by a faulty gene. In others, it caused by chemical imbalances or viruses during pregnancy, such as German measles. Autism is generally detectable around birth, up to the 3rd year of age. In some cases, a person may not display symptoms in the early years, only to dip in development after the 3rd year.
Today’s Autism Treatments
Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder is generally advanced methods of training. There are also drugs that help manage certain severities of autism like antipsychotics. Ultimately, once it’s detected, it should be given attention as soon as possible.
One problem is that for children and adolescents with severe conditions, treatment is extensive. It’s a long-term procedure that demands attention, both medical and financial. It impacts the quality of life of both the child and their parents.
There is promising hope for alternative treatment. It’s in a form of a special machine attached to an electromagnet. The procedure is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, TMS for short. It uses electromagnetic waves to stimulate specific areas of the brain.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Trials for Autism
The treatment is still in the experimental stage. There’s no government-approved methods yet, but clinical trials all over the world show promise. What makes transcranial magnetic stimulation a novel approach to brain treatment, is how simple the procedure is.
An 8-shaped magnet is placed on the patient’s head. Afterwards, the machine generates precise pulses of electricity that activates the electromagnet. This delivers a precise amount of electromagnetism into the brain, causing the targeted part to activate. The effect is both seen and felt during the testing and mapping phase. In this phase, the electromagnet will target the motor area of the brain, causing the hand or a foot to twitch when the magnet is activated.
How TMS Works to Treat Autism
How it works to treat Autism, is essentially the same way you learn how to do a certain task. TMS therapy will activate certain parts of the brain to “flex” them. The procedure lasts up to 6 weeks, with daily, 30-60 minute processes. With this repetitive process, the brain eventually learns to activate properly and all the parts around the area adapt accordingly. By aiming the electromagnet on the part of the brain that controls communication, it can train the area to work correctly.
Clinical trials have shown improvements in a child’s behavior. There’s improvement in social skills and hand-eye coordination, which are markers for progressive brain development. TMS therapy, combined with proper training could be the key to reversing the effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It’s only a matter of time before a proper method of TMS therapy is approved. With promising results from clinical trials and the global effort of researchers, we’re one step closer to fully understanding our brain, and perhaps a cure for its many illnesses.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is far from being a miracle, but the procedure has opened new ways to understand the brain. These ways are different from functional MRIs which view the activity of the brain in real time. TMS allows us to see the deeper and more subtle result of stimulating our brain cells. It allows us to identify what part of the brain does what, more accurately.
If you break the process down to its simplest steps, it’s basically putting an electromagnet on top of your head. The magnet activates in pulses using a machine that controls both the strength and the frequency. The electromagnet’s activation causes a somewhat loud “tick” sound akin to the sparks of electricity when inserting an electric plug into a socket. The machine generates high voltage bursts that deliver powerful electromagnetic waves. But despite the raw power fed to the magnets, it’s harmless to the receiver.
TMS Parts in General
There are two kinds of TMS. There’s the original TMS where there’s a large electromagnetic coil positioned on a certain part of your head to deliver single pulses. The other one is called Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS. It’s often a smaller pair of the electromagnet that delivers repetitive weaker bursts of electromagnetism over a period of time. Both of them have the same general parts.
The Electromagnets or Conductors
While it can be explained as simply aiming the magnets, how it actually works is a bit more complex. The magnets are composed of two coils that deliver a “beam” of electromagnetism. The two beams on their own are weak and won’t affect the brain that much. When they cross, however, the combined energy is enough to properly stimulate whichever part they land on. This is how TMS can stimulate specific parts of the brain.
The Pulse Generator
Basically, the machine that generates electricity to activate the electromagnets. The machine comes with a control panel that allows the user to alter the amount of electricity that flows to the electromagnet. They can also control the frequency of the pulses. The pulse generators are relatively large and heavy. But recent advancement in technology allowed development of smaller, semi-portable machines.
All in One TMS Machines
Since machines are getting smaller these days, so are TMS pulse generators. There are commercially released products where the magnet and the pulse generators come as one device. These relatively lightweight devices can be placed on your head to deliver pre-programmed frequencies.
The key to getting the right effect is to conduct the therapy continuously. TMS clinics offer programs that have 40-60 minute sessions every day for 5-7 days a week, lasting for 20-30 days. On average, people experience improvements in their depression and anxiety. What concerns most first-time users are the lack of sensations during the first few rounds of stimulation. Proof that it affects the brain is shown through the muscle twitches caused when the magnet is aimed at the motor part of the brain which controls your muscles. The procedure is indeed slow, which is important as so to avoid causing stress or damage.