What is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) involves the use of very short pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Since the 1980s, TMS has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and muscles. In the late 1990s physicians began explore the therapeutic potential of TMS for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date. Since then, more than 30 randomized, controlled trials studying TMS as a treatment for depression have been published by investigators throughout the world.
TMS Therapy for the treatment of depression is a short outpatient procedure that uses pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells within the area of the brain thought to control mood. TMS Therapy is performed in a psychiatrist’s office under their supervision while the patient remains awake and alert. A typical TMS treatment course consists of 5 treatments per week over a 4-6 week period. Each treatment session lasts approximately 40 minutes. The NeuroStar TMS Therapy system is the only TMS device cleared by the FDA for the treatment of major depression. TMS Therapy is available upon prescription of a psychiatrist.
How Does TMS Therapy Work?
During TMS Therapy, the treating clinician positions the treatment coil over the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain thought to be involved with mood regulation. Through the treatment coil, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system generates a highly concentrated, magnetic field that turns on and off rapidly. The magnetic field is the same type and strength as that produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. The magnetic field passes through the hair, scalp, and skull and into the prefrontal cortex unimpeded. This method allows for a precise type of stimulation, minimizing the stimulation of brain tissue involved in mood.
Inside the brain, the dynamic nature of the pulsed magnetic field induces electrical charges to flow. The amount of electricity created in the brain is very small, but these small electrical charges cause neurons to fire or become more active. The treatment goal is to stimulate (or activate) brain cells non –invasively without anesthesia or sedation. The most common side effects associated with TMS Therapy are scalp pain or discomfort at the site of application. Patients remain awake and alert throughout the TMS Therapy session, able to resume normal life activities immediately following treatment.
When is TMS used?
Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are the first line treatments for major depression. These treatments, however, do not work for all patients. In these instances, TMS might be used as an alternative treatment, or to augment antidepressant medications or psychotherapy. Patients who have failed to achieve an adequate response from antidepressants, or who are unable to tolerate medications, might consider TMS therapy.
“I suffered from depression for a long time. In my second week of TMS session, I had no side effects, my mood and sleep got better, my thoughts and even my performance at work improved. I really recommend TMS for those who are suffering from depression and suffering from undesirable side effects of medication.”– D.H.N., 37 years old
For more information please contact Mari Balbous at American Center for Psychiatry & Neurology
Tel: +971 2 697 9999