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Defining Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a difficult topic to research, much less discuss. It requires expertise and specialist’s knowledge. It requires a lot of research and academic articles. You may read a lot of information about it online, but what you find might not be accurate. The information you get may not be able to help you clarify what TMS really is or does. In this article, we will attempt to enlighten you about TMS. Below you will find the definition of TMS, as well as much of the relevant information you have been looking for.


The Definition of TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a medical process that attempts to remedy depression. It’s a non-invasive treatment that hits the person’s head with a magnetic pulse. This pulse is repetitive and will deliver MRI-strength magnetic field to your head. This will be through a coil placed on your scalp – a painless procedure. A magnetic pulse will then stimulate your brain tissue.

This rapid pulse current will pass unimpeded to to your skull. It stimulates your brain tissue beneath and will help normalize your brain’s activity. The stimulation will also produce therapeutic pulses to your brain without seizure. The seizure activity found in other electromagnetic pulse treatments isn’t present in TMS.


FDA Approval

It’s always reassuring to find methods with FDA approval. TMS got approved in 2007 as an aid for those with depression. Since then, treatment-resistent depression has found a remedy with this treatment. People who are taking antidepressants and haven’t felt any better often find relief in TMS.

The FDA is also monitoring how the treatment affects those with stroke and schizophrenia. There’s also a study now of how this treatment affects people with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). It’s one serious issue that needs medical attention today and TMS has potential to help.

The approval of TMS first came in 1985, based on an experiment that probed brain activity. Since then TMS is a new hope for many, especially those who didn’t respond to traditional forms of medication or therapies.

It is the hope that TMS will offer the same benefits as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). It is right now showing promise that it can be a good alternative. With TMS, patients can get the benefits of ECT minus the drawbacks. Patients of TMS can already get these benefits after only a few sessions. TMS is usually carried out during 20-40 minute sessions over a six week period.



People can find reassurance that open-label clinical trials show positive results for TMS. One out of two patients with TMS find recovery after 4-6 weeks of treatment. Of course, this may not be for everyone. Be careful with this treatment and ask the doctor for advice first. While there are reports of reduced symptoms of depression after the treatment, those who show strong resistance to antidepressants still show little response to TMS.


Continuous Study

There’s still a lot to study about the treatment’s effects. But, the therapy has been effective already to many patients. The effects of the therapy have even lasted for six months with no need for repeated sessions.

Those undergoing treatment should always be monitored, though. Relapse can be prevented with constant monitoring. The patients undergoing TMS should receive maintenance therapy, which may or may not include medication.

People who undergo TMS should also understand the side effects of the treatment. They may enjoy the benefits, but not if the side effects overshadow the benefits – just make sure to note any negative effects that occur after treatments and inform your doctor of them.


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