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Using TMS to Treat Epilepsy

Hereditary Epilepsy
Epilepsy Identification
Seizure Triggers
TMS is Safe

Around 65 millions of people around the world suffer from the neurological disorder known as epilepsy. In the United States alone, it affects about 3 millions of Americans.


Hereditary Epilepsy

Epilepsy relates to our 500 genes and hereditary has some factor in developing the disorder. The low threshold is more vulnerable to triggering seizures in adverse reaction or in high threshold has a low capacity to seizures. A higher threshold means a person will less likely to have seizures.

The probability someone has epilepsy is fairly low; which generally means that epileptic parents will not give birth to epileptic children. An estimation of acquiring epilepsy by 20 years old is about 1% or 1 in every 100 people. In case of genetics, people who have epileptic parents may have an increased risk of 2% to 5% of developing the disease.


Epilepsy Identification

Epilepsy can be a recurrent activity of the brain seizures and experts characterized it as a chronic disorder or it can be a sudden electrical movement in the brain. Two types of seizures are seen first, general seizures the whole brain activity affected. Second, partial seizures or a part of the brain is affected which can last for a few seconds without realizing it happening.

Seizures that are characterized as mild will not be recognized for it usually last just a few seconds. Some can distinguish with several effects such as spasm, muscle twitches in a longer period of times. While strong seizures can cause loss of consciousness of this has great effects like memory loss.


Seizure Triggers

Several factors come into play in triggering seizures including having a high fever, trauma such as an accident that affects the head or brain, hyperglycosuria or low sugar level or even alcohol withdrawal.


What triggers an epileptic seizure?

Situations and some conditions in life and other factors such as sleeping disorder, diseases like fever, over fatigue or stress, taking alcohol, some drugs that can trigger seizures, overeating or lack of eating or some food ingredients that can have chemicals to triggers seizures.

Developing epilepsy or identifying the exact triggers is hard to distinguish. It may be a combination of different factors. A good way to identifying such triggers needs undivided attention of keeping in touch in different activities of the patients, concerning what are the situations happened, or through the smells, unusual sights, factors that accumulate stress, eating habits, sleeping habits and how the overwork manifested in the whole day.

You can also use your seizure journal to determine if your medications are working. Note how you felt just before and just after your seizure, and any side effects.

Through keeping records, it may help to determine what kind of medicines are going to take, as well as document to effects on the patient before and after. It may be useful in adjusting your medications or exploring other treatments.

As a common neurological disorder, epilepsy comes in various forms. Treatments include many antiepileptic medications that can control seizures well. However, these medications are not for everyone, some people suffer frequently from the adverse effects of these drugs. Some medical professionals often recommend surgery for patients with uncontrollable seizures. But surgeries is an invasive procedure and not suitable for all people. Today, the medical community knows too well the need to develop a safer alternative treatment for epilepsy.


TMS is Safer

With the success of TMS in treating the major depressive disorder, many believed that it can be a safer alternative treatment for epilepsy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is now advisable and in demand procedure in treating seizures and offers a safe way and non-surgical way of methods of treatment. Research studies that it can be effective down to the brain for possible treatment; it reduced magnetic currents to modulate the brain activity to lessen seizures.

TMS for epilepsy will reduce seizures frequency compared to other treatment. It gives a good quality of life and enhances one brain capabilities in seizures into normal life condition. Brain electrographic tests give a brain a tendency an antiepileptic medication for all types of seizures and against its side effects.

Even Experimental Tests are Safer

Experiments of TMS can lessen the seizures compared to other available conventional treatments. As of the present, there are 4 of trials regarding TMS. Researchers are able to attest that TMS doesn’t have life-threatening side effects compared to other medications or procedure. The only notable side effect is a headache which eventually eases out. During the course of experimental research, TMS proved a safer and affordable way of making a good quality of life. TMS gives another light of hope for people suffering from epilepsy.


Treatment Session
Side Effects of TMS
Risks of TMS


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.


Treatment Session

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.


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