Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has shown significant efficacy in treating major depressive and obsessive compulsive disorders. A newly published literature review by Antonio H. Iglesias, MD, a Loyola Medicine neurologist and assistant professor at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, highlights the compelling scientific and clinical data supporting further studies into the use of TMS to treat a broader range of common neurological conditions, including stroke, acute migraines and dementia.
A TMS device is made of one or two copper coils, positioned on an external, targeted area of a patient’s scalp, which produces brief, magnetic pulses to an estimated depth of approximately 2 to 2.5 centimeters. The magnetic field triggers changes in neuronal activity and communication, which can alter unwanted activity within the brain.
“TMS can work as a stimulant or an inhibitor of cerebral activity, or both,” says Dr. Iglesias. In addition, different sized coils and varying magnetic impulses can impact outcomes, depending on a patient’s neuroplasticity–the capacity for neurons and the nerve cells to change and compensate for injury and disease.