How Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Help?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a medical procedure that makes
use of magnetic fields to stimulate the brain's nerve cells as a means
to help reduce the symptoms of depression. The procedure involves placing
an electromagnetic coil near the patient's forehead. This will create
a current that helps to stimulate those nerve cells in the area of the
brain that controls mood, and thus the depression that the patient is
feeling. This type of treatment is still relatively new, having only received
approval from the FDA in 2008.
Many different types of treatment for depression are available today, but
the traditional treatments are not always effective for all people. Many
specialists consider using this treatment when the other methods they
typically use for depression treatment don't work with certain patients.
If talk therapy and medications are not working, TMS may be a viable alternative.
How does it work?
The exact mechanisms that cause TMS to work for some patients is still
something of a mystery. Research is showing that the nerve stimulation
in those areas of the brain that control mood can be a good way to treat
The benefits of TMS include:
- It is not invasive
- It does not involve complete sedation or anesthesia
- It has fewer side effects than deep brain stimulation or vagus nerve stimulation.
However, some patients experience some short-term side effects. These are
usually mild, and they disappear or at least improve after the first week
of treatment. They include headaches, discomfort of the scalp at the stimulation
site, twitching of the facial muscles, and lightheadedness. Other side
effects are extraordinarily rare, and they include seizures and hearing
loss due to not using proper ear protection while undergoing the treatment.
Some patients, those who are bipolar, may also suffer from mania.
Who is a good candidate?
Many patients make great candidates for TMS. However, it is important to
let the doctor know if you are pregnant or you are considering getting
pregnant, or if you have a history of mania or seizures. Additionally,
you should make sure you let the doctor know all of the medications you
are taking and whether you have any implanted medical devices or metal
on your body. This can interfere with the treatment. Most will find that
they have no trouble qualifying for the procedure, but it is always better
to ensure the physician has your full medical history beforehand.
Consult with a Sports Neurology Expert
I, Dr. Williams, am a Board Certified Neurologist with 20 years of experience
in this fascinating area of medicine. Since 1997, I have shared my neurology
expertise with legal professionals who were in need of an expert witness.
I would be happy to answer your questions during an
If you need more information about TMS or wish to seek my help as an expert