Over the past few years, there are several studies indicating the efficacy of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS as an alternative depression treatment.
Researchers at Butler Hospital along with the collaboration of different clinics in the US confirmed the efficacy of TMS treatment for patients with depression who were unsuccessful on their antidepressant medications. Their finding is one of many first studies who delved into the use of TMS treatment. It was published on June 11, 2012 edition of Depression and Anxiety in the Wiley Online Library.
How did TMS Start?
Anthony Baker introduced TMS in 1985 at the University of Sheffield in England. It was intended as a neurodiagnostic tool used to produce an evoked potential in muscle tissue by activating neurons in the motor cortex. The whole concept of TMS was based on the two basic principles of physics; Faraday’s principle of electromagnetic induction and Ampere’s law.
Faraday’s principle involves the use of 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 principle revolves around this principle. The stimulation coil consists of several wire loops encased in an insulating material. According to Kobayashi M, Pascual-Leone A. in Transcranial magnetic stimulation in neurology, “If a pulse of current is passed through this coil and placed over a person’s head, it produces rapidly changing magnetic pulses that penetrate the scalp and skull and reach the brain with minimal attenuation.”
Because of this, TMS can emit rapid and powerful but painless magnetic field that stimulates brain nerve cells. In doing so, it activates inactive region in the brain associated with depression.
Since its introduction in 1985, TMS had been studied as an alternative treatment for various mental disorders. Several studies show that TMS can be an effective treatment for major depression, Tourette syndrome, reducing auditory hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There a lot of evidence showing the efficacy of TMS in psychiatry.
Another Form of Electromagnetic Treatment
However, TMS was not the first treatment introduced that uses electromagnetic pulses. It was Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) that was first used in 1938 which also show the significant result in treating major depression. Unfortunately, ECT uses an invasive method like anesthesia which resulted in severe side effects. It soon loses its popularity amongst patients with depressive disorders.
ECT remains one of the most controversial forms of treatment in the entire field medical science. It’s a love and hate relationships. But one film stands out in providing a wide range of people about the use ECT. The film “One Flew over Cuckoo’s Nest”, shows how crude treatment method ECT can get. Even though ECT can also effectively treat depressive symptoms, there has been a steady decline of its use in clinical psychiatry clinics.
A Safer Treatment Method
About 16.1 million people suffer from depressive disorders across the US. Depression is a serious illness affecting 350 million people worldwide; it’s becoming the largest health problem in the world. The medical community had developed medications and treatment plan to help manage its symptoms but there are patients who do not respond positively to these. Using medications often entails adverse side effects like tolerance and drug addiction.
The approval of FDA for TMS had cleared the TMS brain-stimulating device for treating depressive disorder to patients where antidepressant has failed to work. TMS brings new hope and vitality to patients and their families wherein it shows better results than the conventional treatment plan. It has far lesser and fewer side effects, some does not even experience and adverse reaction to TMS procedure.
TMS procedure shows its efficacy to over 24,000 people suffering from depressive disorder. About 1 out of 3 people have experienced complete remission from depression. While 50% of patients reported having significant reductions in their symptoms. The American Psychiatric Association also supports the use of TMS for patients who develop tolerance over their antidepressant medications. They suggest that medical professionals should consider TMS as a form of treatment rather than changing from one antidepressant to the other. Using antidepressant medications often lead to drug addiction.
One study conducted by Garcia-Toro M, Mayol A, Arnillas H, et al in their book entitled “Modest adjunctive benefit with transcranial magnetic stimulation in medication-resistant depression” shows that TMS can treat depression symptoms as effectively as any antidepressant medications.
Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, it may affect to everyone. Due to biochemical changes – an integral part of depression, it may be triggered by various factors. These changes can alter the communication between the brain nerve cells and the body’s ability to manage stress. According to research, it triggers the overwhelming surge of sadness and other feelings associated with depression.
Several studies show that mood disorder originates in the limbic system. It is the emotional center of the brain which includes the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and the basal ganglia. These parts help regulate the feelings of appetite, aggression, sense of well-being and sex drive.
Several factors like environmental disorders, mental incapability to adapt problems can cause depression. It takes away the joy of physical lifestyles and their positive perspective in life.
Here are the early signs of depression you may notice when you or a loved one are in the early stages of depression:
Family, friends or close people that surrounds us will offer advice that is intended to help but makes you feel judged and alone. Social rejection, associated with post-traumatic stress disorder in one of the vital signs of depression. When people around you give negative comments to your identity or criticize it will lessen the confidence and self-esteem. Rejection is so hard to make you feel happy in life.
Lack of Interest
A sudden or gradual loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed. Loss of interest in many different aspects of your life that were previously important to you at once. Loss of interest over the course of time, it means a characteristic of tardiness. Engaging in activities that you normally find fun to become bored and disinterested, you may stop doing all but the necessary tasks in your daily life that you need to accomplish in order to hold onto your job. Complete lack of interest even in the things you need to do in order to maintain your standard of living.
Changes to your sleep schedule are a common sign of depression. Sleeping longer than usual, a lot less than usual or make sure of both. You may sleep at night normally but have significant trouble falling asleep or waking up on time the next day. It is a problematic night that may affect your ability to stay alert and awake in your daily activities.
Sadness is perhaps one of the most stereotypical signs of depression. Many depressed people do feel a very deep sense of sadness. We need to learn to distinguish between life’s usual ups and downs, trials, afflictions, persecutions, problems and many other things.
You may have severe feelings of sadness over things, events, people, or no reason at all – things that you would normally enjoy no longer lift your mood. A family history of depression and have had depression in the past, serious loss or stress such as the death of a partner, close family member or a friend, unemployment, divorce, frustration, loss in competition, financial crisis, broken families or relationship difficulties can cause deep sadness and leads into life’s comma.
Detachment from the Real World
Detachment is associated with the post-traumatic disorder. You may feel strangely detached from the physical world or detached from your own emotions and experiences. In case of post-traumatic stress disorder, a person may be so detached from the reality that hallucinations occur. It sometimes described as feeling as if someone else is living your life while you are in your room. It is a kind of imaginations and dreams that do not come true and hoping into reality but it is impossible. It is also one of the main signs of depression that encourage people to seek treatment and get a diagnosis. Unlike many other signs of depression, detachment is generally an unmistakable feeling.
Hopelessness can be a negative attitude and not hoping for the best. Hoping to cure in your serious or your chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, stroke and others but not giving the exact medication in cure will lead you to hopeless thinking. Hopeless people often want to be left alone and quiet, which can lead to the idea that they want to die because they believe no one will help them nor that anyone cares. They are people who are a risk and they do not give important the beauty of life that surrounds them.
There are physical symptoms includes body weakness, over fatigue, loss of weight, changes in appetite, stomach cramps, nervousness. Some children with depression can exhibit the character of anger and overactive, in different behavior. Other symptoms are irritable moods, low self-esteem, mental blackness, feelings of emptiness, anxiety, lack of concentration, crying spells, having little interest in doing things, early morning awakening or late sleepers or even do not sleep at all.
Treatment of depression needs of the individual to be cooperative into the account when planning treatment. There are some techniques you can do yourself to combat depression such as healthy living with a balanced diet, getting regular sleep, making time to enjoy an activity every day, regular exercise, positive thinking to achieve goals, and spiritual pursuits. When those don’t work in treating the depression, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy offers a new and unique approach to treating depression. Contact us today to learn how we can help you treat depression one brief session at a time.
Tinnitus is a sensation or ringing in the ears. It’s a common problem to all and it affects 1 in every 5 people. Tinnitus is not a disorder itself, but a symptom of a more serious health condition like ear injury, circulatory system disorder or hearing loss.
Symptoms of tinnitus are often associated with ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing. For many suffering from this condition, it makes their lives bothersome. Treatment methods for tinnitus often mask the noise or lessen the sensation to make it less noticeable.
TMS as a Possible Way to Cure Tinnitus
Transcranial magnetic stimulation proved as a potential alternative treatment for tinnitus. It induces electrical stimulation of cortical neutrons and it focused magnetic field over the surface of the brain. The magnetic pulses are delivered repeated and a process called repetitive TMS. The low frequency of r TMS shown to alleviate tinnitus perception and it will inhibit the cortical activity in the tinnitus. Its effectiveness of neuro navigated and its effects on the patients with chronic tinnitus using this method of treatment employing an optimization technique in the laboratory.
How TMS Can Help
One particular placebo-controlled study shows how TMS can effectively treat tinnitus. The magnetic field as in microseconds relatively weak and diminishes with distance from the coil. The pulse waves can be delivered at low frequencies that tend to decrease or increase neural activity under the coil. This aim the direct the stimulation of the superficial cortex in a deeper brain structure and its structure in the opposite cerebral hemisphere may be affected by TMS through connecting neural pathways.
Several studies also show how TMS can treat tinnitus patients using low-frequency magnetic pulses applied in the temporal lobe. The session usually lasts for about 30 minutes once a day for 3 to 10 consecutive days.
Some use functional imaging with neuronavigation for choosing the place of treatment based on asymmetrical cortical activation. It targets the left superior temporal lobe in all cases or the other side for the tinnitus. The targeting technique is beneficial for the results that obtained 50% of patients who receive this cure. The effects have been reported to persist 6 months in some other cases and most treatments have demonstrated tinnitus suppression effects last only a few days to a few weeks depending on the response of the patients.
There are several studies showing that tinnitus disorder may have been proposed in a spontaneous otoacoustic emission, thalamocortical dysthymia and maladaptive cortical reorganization due to peripheral injury.
How TMS Works
The repetitive TMS induces electrical stimulation of cortical neurons facing the magnetic pulses in the surface of the brain through a stimulating coil. The usefulness of TMS treatment depends on the materials, physiologic and anatomic variables and stimulating parameters. Health care professionals meticulously calculate the intensity, frequency, duration and time in each session to efficiently directing the excitation of the inhibitory neuron.
Immediate results of TMS treatments depend on the frequency and inhibitory effects on the cortex. The motor cortex shows low-frequency stimulation to gives excitement intermediate effects, and its long duration did monthly. The less duration of the neurobiological mechanisms is involved the low frequency is given in the temporal cortex commonly treat the tinnitus.
This low frequency is applied over the parts to reduce tinnitus by inhibiting activity under the stimulating coil. The imaging techniques will navigate the stimulating coil over the parts within the temporal cortex that will increase metabolic activity. The rational give rise to empirical observations. The treatment of tinnitus used in the combinations of increase and decrease frequency stimulation that goes in the frontal and temporal cortex. The burst frequency will be applied to the cured of tinnitus patients and the burst frequency also applied in the tinnitus patients that may activate brain cell neurons more actively.
A single treatment of this procedure tends to reduce tinnitus disorder for a short period of time. However, treatment efficiency also improves the more a patient undergoes TMS treatment. All the tinnitus patients who undergo TMS treatment show an improved response in the 3 days session of therapy. TMS may provide an effective treatment in normalizing the oscillatory activity or altering the balance activity in brain system that is connected to auditory areas.
Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD refers to a very wide range of behavioral symptoms which health providers categorize in different ways. ASD affects a person’s communication skills, social interaction, behavior, and interests. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ASD affects 1 in every 59 8-year-old children in 2014. The disorder is four times more common in boys than in girls and can happen to anyone regardless of racial or ethnic groups.
Conventional Treatment Methods
There are a number of currently available treatments for people with ASD but mostly involve prescription medications for symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and inattentiveness. Some may include classes that help those people learn social skills, adaptive coping, problem-solving which all focuses on how they can manage their daily living routines.
Conventional treatment methods may offer relief for some patients but many are left unsatisfied with the results. These medications may not work for everyone with ASD and using prescription medications often lead to far worse health conditions.
TMS: A Safe Alternative Treatment
Two of the most common ASD symptoms include difficulties in social interaction and repetitive behaviors both verbal and non-verbal. People with ASD along with their loved ones spend a lot of time seeking out various treatments for alleviating the symptoms.
Many neuroscientists are now exploring different possibilities to treat ASD symptoms without the danger of various health complications. Experts are now looking for the possibility of using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to address the problem.
TMS used safe and painless electromagnetic waves that can stimulate certain brain areas to produce neurotransmitters necessary for normal brain activity.
Medical professionals place a coil near the prefrontal cortex of the patient stimulating the region in the brain that regulates mood and behaviors. It’s a proven technique to treat major depressive disorders which the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2008. There are no known severe adverse effects of TMS which many health care providers considered as safe and effective.
Ongoing TMS research
For the past few decades since its development, scientists have been studying the use of TMS as a possible treatment option for different neurological and psychiatric disorders. Today, the FDA gave its official nod for TMS as an alternative treatment method for depression in adults who failed to respond to conventional medications. Having an FDA approval signifies its importance of having a safe procedure which can help with other conducted clinical trials.
With various studies supporting TMS efficacy in modulating mood and behaviors, neuroscientists are now considering this technique to address the two main challenges associated with ASD – social interaction and repetitive behaviors.
The Harvard University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital and at the University of Louisville published the medical research findings in using TMS in ASD-related symptoms. Today, there are more than 100 patients with ASD that had been published in several professional scientific journals worldwide.
TMS as an Alternative Treatment for ASD
Currently, there are several research studies on TMS as a treatment method for ASD. Even though it’s still at its infancy stage, TMS is seen to help relieve symptoms such as repetitive behaviors, and irritability. According to experts, TMS can help improve other autism-related disabilities like eye-hand coordination and social skills.
A lot of patients with ASD in these pilot studies have shown significant improvements in their social skills and other executive functioning.
Patients who participated in these early studies become more aware and able to project conventional demeanor. They are observed to have a better social functioning, ability to read nonverbal cues, and were able to interact with another person. As they improved their social skills, experts noticed that they also show decreased rigidity and repetitive behaviors.
With its positive initial results, there are three known clinical trials using TMS as a treatment for ASD-related symptoms. A research study in Canada focuses on how TMS can help with executive functioning. Another study in Israel is looking at the effects of TMS in children and adolescents with ASD and intellectual disability. Lastly, a French study is finding ways at the possible changes in social cognition in adults with ASD using TMS.
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.
Chronic or severe pain can range from mild to excruciating, felt in brief moments, be gradual in pain, or reside in a continuous manner or in episodic attacks. This pain can usually last more than 6 months, depending on its cause. Also, chronic pain can physically affect a person, their mood, performance at work or school, and even their intellectual and cognitive functions.
Chronic pain is one of many medical mysteries known to man. Doctors have their own limitations in treating this chronic pain, its effective treatment and different kinds of dilemmas. Chronic pain can result in other different disorders like anxieties, worries, depression and poor cognitive performance.
Pain is one harsh sensation that can happen to a person. Commonly experience inside body tissues, but most studies revealed that chronic pain affects the lower back pain, neck pain, stomach, head, pelvic and other areas of the body. But with a proper psycho-physiological assessment, pain can significantly improve even be eliminated.
Unfortunately, many people suffering from chronic pain don’t have any idea how to address their suffering. Not all conventional treatment to chronic pain can benefit everyone. Prescription medications that contain opioids commonly lead to drug addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Signs and symptoms of chronic pain vary for everyone. Chronic pain has certain kinds of severity and source which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat. However, some signs and manifestations are as follows: continuous pain, from cute to chronic pain, an electrical sensation, aches, intellectual disorders like low self-confidence, easy to anger, stress, worries, anxieties and many more.
Causes or Triggers of Chronic pain
There is no single specific factor that cause chronic pain. But there are certain factors that can trigger the disorder such as cases of infection, injury, and different illnesses.
Treating chronic pain includes taking medicines for the routine relief; doctors for surgery or operation can prescribe medications for a certain medical procedure. Some include alternative therapies like acupuncture and other traditional practices. But chronic pain treatment will depend to a certain extent on its cause.
Sadly, long-term use of these conventional treatments often leads to drug tolerance and drug addiction. As the rise of chronic pain disorders among people across the globe, the need for a safe and alternative treatment increases.
TMS for Chronic Pain
About 20 years ago, scientists develop Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a safe and alternative treatment for major depression. Due to its success, experts continue to stretch its parameters for treating other kinds of disorders.
Today, TMS could offer patients suffering from chronic pain their long waited relief from the discomfort. TMS can work directly on regions of the brain associated with pain. It can provide a non-invasive and non-systemic approach, avoiding adverse side effects associated with pain medication drugs.
Some painful sensation responds accordingly to antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioid agonists. But these drugs also carry deadly side effects. So there is still a growing need for a safe and effective therapeutic option.
Fortunately, TMS provides effective and fast relief of chronic pain using electromagnetic waves targeting the brain cells associated with pain. It’s an affordable and simple procedure and it gives no dangerous side effects to the body. TMS uses magnetic stimulation of brain nerve cells that are related to chronic pain. These waves can modulate cortical excitability and at the same time inhibit pain perception in the brain. This method can significantly improve symptoms of chronic pain in patients.
The TMS machine uses a coil placed near on top of the head to stimulate the cortical regions of the brain. This strategic location along with the correct threshold can effectively stimulate brain cells. The procedure is safe and does not elicit adverse effects. Some TMS clinics use H-coils and used to stimulate the lower-limb motor cortex, an area in the brain tucked deep within the medial longitudinal fissure that controls motor skills. One study shows that deep TMS has significant results to patients suffering from diabetic neuropathic pain. Experts saw improvement in relieving chronic pain symptoms in these patients.
As a non-invasive procedure, it does not need any hospitalization or anesthesia. Most of its side effects are well tolerated and diminishes over time as treatment session continues. Treatments usually take place inside the doctor’s office and patients are kept wide awake. TMS does not require any anesthesia or similar drugs; patients can easily go back to their normal daily routine after each session. This makes TMS as an ideal treatment option for patients with a strict schedule to follow.
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.
Depression takes away the joy of living for those suffering from the disorder. About 14 million adults suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Even worse is that there is a lot of evidence showing depression can have serious and detrimental effects on physical health.
The most common signs of depression include:
- Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
- Poor appetite
- Weight problems
- Problems concentrating
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Irritability or restlessness
- Persistent sad feelings
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Recent studies show that people with depression or anxiety also have a higher chance of suffering strokes or heart attacks. Additionally, some people resort to destructive behavior like substance abuse and self-harm while in various states of depression.
Treating patients suffering from depression is a difficult task. Antidepressants and psychotherapy may offer relief for some people, but many are stuck in a cycle of treatment and relapse.
There is no definite method treating depression, some doctors can only rely on trial and error while hoping for the right combination of therapy and medication. Unfortunately, as many as 50% of patients don’t respond positively to any traditional methods.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved TMS therapy in 2008 as a depression treatment. This new technique uses magnetic pulses placed on the patient’s head.
TMS therapy stimulates the brain’s nerve cells associated with depression. An electromagnetic coil is placed on top of the patient’s head near the forehead. This sends out pulses painlessly to activate the nerve cells associated with mood control. TMS therapy can lessen the symptoms of depression and improve the overall mood of the patient.
It can treat the disorder as effectively as antidepressants or psychotherapy. The only difference with TMS therapy compared to other conventional treatments is the absence of any serious side effects. People who did not respond to medications and psychotherapy can benefit well from TMS therapy.
Success Rate of TMS therapy
TMS therapy can offer patients with the benefits of the traditional treatment with fewer side effects. The method uses magnetic pulses to alter the neural pathways in the brain that show little activity. These magnetic pulses help reset some of the brain’s pathways.
During a TMS therapy session, patients are seated comfortably in a chair, awake and fitted with a helmet. Patients can only feel a repetitive light tapping on the scalp. Usually, TMS sessions last for about 37 minutes for a period of 20 to 30 treatments over a 4 to 6 week period. After each session, patients can immediately resume their normal routines. Many reported having significant improvements in:
- Sleeping patterns
- Fewer episodes of ‘depressive’ thoughts
Many TMS trials show positive results in reducing symptoms of depression. This therapy is a safe alternate method for treating depression. Due to the high success rate, many people are becoming interested in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy.
One study conducted across 22 medical centers in the US, Canada, Europe, and Israel wanted to prove the efficacy of TMS therapy through a total of 230 patients who failed to improve using conventional depression treatments. The findings of the study show that 38.4% of patients experience a decrease in depression symptoms and a low relapse rate. This makes doctors and psychologists optimistic about the future of this treatment method.
What Causes Migraines?
Up to now, the medical community cannot explain how and what causes migraines. Most of the theory surrounding the cause of migraines points to genetics. Some people are predisposed to having migraines because of their biological makeup. However, insufficient studies about the origin of a migraine make it even difficult to get treatment.
Migraine Treatment Methods
However, medical science has developed several ‘cures’ to relieve symptoms of migraines. These include using:
- Available over the counter drugs
- Supplements to boost overall health and to prevent migraines from occurring
- Application of herbs, ointments, and other options
If you are constantly suffering from migraines, and are tired of the usual medications available, then TMS therapy might be for you.
What is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic pulses that stimulate brain cells. Initially, the method helped experts understand how the brain works. But recent studies show that it can help treat depression and other mental conditions like autism and anxiety.
TMS therapy in a migraine usually comes in a handheld portable device and you can place it on your head. This device will send out magnetic pulses through the skin with a single press of a button. The pulses from the machine can vary from single pulse (sTMS) to repeated pulses (rTMS). You can also customize the strength, frequency, and duration of the pulses.
Can TMS Treat Migraines?
Single pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (sTMS) is a unique method of treating acute migraines. Previous studies show that sTMS helps decrease symptoms of migraines. sTMS can work without medication and has practically no serious side effects. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has even approved TMS therapy in treating and preventing migraines.
There are only a handful of studies about TMS therapy in treating migraines, though. But most of them have concluded that TMS is a safe and effective alternative treatment for reducing, preventing, and treating migraine symptoms and their intensity.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of TMS are mostly mild to moderate and may include:
- Scalp discomfort
- Twitching of facial muscles
- Worsening of migraines
- Tingling sensations
- Sleepiness during treatment sessions
Serious Side Effects of sTMS
Serious side effects from sTMS are rare but when they occur, they can include the following:
- Inflamed sinuses (sinusitis)
- Difficulty in speaking or comprehension
- Feeling unusually energetic or “wired”
- Mania for people with bipolar disorder
That being said, sTMS may also not be appropriate for you if you have a family history of epilepsy or seizures. Do not use or undergo sTMS therapy if you have the following:
- Metal in or near your head, neck, or upper body
- Bullet fragments near the head
- Facial tattoos
- Ear implants
TMS machine acts like MRI and can affect metallic objects. These metallic components can malfunction, heat up, or move during treatment.
If you’ve tried all various medications to prevent and cure migraines, then it might be time to try TMS. This new method doesn’t produce serious side effects and very safe to use. It’s a proven method in people who can no longer tolerate taking drugs to relieve pain associated with migraines.