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.
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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.