What is Brain Stimulation?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a novel form of Brain Stimulation used to treat patients whose condition has not improved through conventional approaches.
How TMS Works
TMS uses the same technology as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to focus a highly refined magnetic field on hypometabolic (underactive) brain areas in order to non-invasively stimulate neural activity and restore normal brain functioning. TMS treatments are able to “rewire” the brain by inducing neuroplastic changes so that treatment gains persist even after the TMS treatment has been completed.
Benefits of TMS
Unlike other treatments, such as medications, TMS is not associated with the common side effects of weight gain, sexual problems, sleepiness or memory loss. It is also much less invasive than deep brain stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other alternative treatment options for depression.
Although TMS was originally used to treat depression, there is evidence that this procedure can be effective for treatment of a wide range of brain disorders, including Tinnitus, Generalized Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic Pain, Schizophrenia (Auditory Hallucinations and Negative Symptoms), and Cognitive Impairment.
During the TMS procedure, a coil device is placed over the patient’s head to deliver magnetic pulses to the brain. These pulses cause electrical changes within the underlying brain circuitry. This procedure is non-invasive and relatively painless.
Depending on the type of treatment, each treatment session takes about 15-45 minutes to perform, and patients can resume their regular activities immediately after each session. To achieve effective results, patients usually will need to be treated five days a week on weekdays for four to eight weeks, depending on the individual condition and response rate and condition.
Effectiveness of TMS Treatment
The effectiveness of TMS has rapidly and significantly improved over the past several years as doctors have learned better ways to apply the treatment parameters. For patient’s who continued with treatment, a recent open-label study (Hadley et al. 2010) showed a stunning 100% remission rate for severely depressed patients who were refractory to numerous medication treatments.
Minimal Side Effects
Because TMS activity is restricted to a two centimeter diameter area on the surface of the brain, it has minimal side effects. In contrast to medications, it does not introduce a synthetic molecule into a patient’s blood stream, and thus does not systemically affect cells in other parts of the body which is the cause of most medication side effects.
While TMS is a safer and less invasive alternative to other brain stimulation procedures, there are certain risks associated with any type of treatment. Most patients undergo TMS with no major side effects.
Common side effects of TMS include:
- Scalp discomfort
- Rarely, seizure (approximate risk is 1/10,000 and it produces no long-term impairment after the seizure resolves)
Contraindications to TMS
Similar to patient’s undergoing an MRI scan, TMS patients cannot have metal surgical clips or other metallic objects in their head or neck (with the exception of dental work).
A contraindication is a condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment.
- History of seizures or epilepsy
- Family history of seizures or epilepsy
- With the exception of dental work, metal inside the body in the region of the head or neck (e.g. shrapnel, surgical clips, welding fragments)
- Implanted medical device (e.g. deep brain stimulator, cochlear or ocular implant)
Academic Medical Centers Offering TMS
Other leading academic medical centers treating patients with TMS include the Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins, McLean, Sheppard Pratt, Beth Israel Hospital, Walter Reed, UCLA, the Mayo Clinic, Columbia University and Stanford.
If you have any further questions regarding TMS Los Angeles Therapy, please call 800-306-2290 today to schedule a consultation.