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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

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 depression.

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 evaluation.

If you need more information about TMS or wish to seek my help as an expert witness, please contact me today.

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