TMS therapy is a medical technological advancement for treating Major Depressive Disorder approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008. TMS uses magnetic pulses with an intensity comparable to an MRI machine to activate brain cells and alleviate depressive symptoms. Depression treatment with TMS does not involve any drugs or surgery. In addition,…
TMS is a Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Treatment for Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation treatment for depression that employs magnetic fields to activate a patient's brain's nerve cells. We typically reserve TMS therapy for cases of depression where no other treatments have proven successful.
An overview of TMS's effects on brain chemistry
Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses electricity and magnetism, two fundamental concepts in physics. The success of TMS depends on the complementary nature of these two ideas. The magnetic field shows the magnet's impact on a magnetically active area. Despite being invisible to the naked eye, the interest still has a noticeable effect on the center of that area. A magnetic field produces electricity when an electrically conducting object comes into contact with the magnetic field.
Considerable electrical activity occurs in the human brain. Neurons, the cells that make up the nervous system and brain, utilize very low electrical voltages to communicate and transfer information. Placing a magnet close to the brain makes it possible to alter electrical activity in the brain. Therefore, TMS focuses on specific brain regions, particularly those responsible for processing emotions, making decisions, or experiencing pleasure.
However, TMS uses a magnet with an on/off switch. The process is feasible since electricity can determine when the appeal turns on and off. The magnet is also far more potent than the one you may find in your junk drawer.
How TMS works
The TMS treatment process may be executed in several ways. The operation depends on varying the intensity of the magnetic field or using different types of magnets.
Magnet strength. The tesla is the standard measure of magnetic field strength (T). The magnetic field strength produced by most TMS magnets is between 1.5T and 2T, comparable to that of an MRI scanner. However, since the TMS magnet is much smaller, the magnetic field's coverage area is far less than an MRI's.
Pulse frequency. A pulse is every time the magnetic field switches on and off. Frequency is the pulse rate per second in hertz or Hz. The TMS provider can opt between low-frequency pulses at 1 Hz (1 pulse per second) or high-frequency vibrations at 5 Hz to 10 Hz (5 to 10 pulses per second). The term "repetitive TMS" refers to transcranial magnetic stimulation that employs repeated pulses (rTMS).
Pulse patterns. TMS treatment may also involve different pulse patterns. Theta burst stimulation (TBS) is one such pattern. With TBS, the provider delivers triple 5Hz bursts at a rate of 15-pulse per second. These burst patterns make treatment time more like five or six times faster than usual.
Magnetic coil type and stimulation area. The TMS provider can use magnetic coils of varying strengths and styles to stimulate various brain structures. For example, deep TMS (dTMS) can reach deeper brain areas than rTMS and TBS using an H-shaped helmed coil.
TMS has shown promising results whenever conventional therapies have failed. Moreover, it being a noninvasive brain stimulation treatment makes it a practical choice. There is no need for invasive surgery since the whole process is performed on the skin's surface. Contact the psychiatrist's office if you need additional information.
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