Transcranial magnetic stimulation

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive method to cause depolarization in the neurons of the brain. TMS uses electromagnetic induction to induce weak electric currents using a rapidly changing magnetic field; this can cause activity in specific or general parts of the brain with minimal discomfort, allowing the functioning and interconnections of the brain to be studied. A variant of TMS, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), has been tested as a treatment tool for various neurological and psychiatric disorders including migraines, strokes, Parkinson's disease, dystonia, tinnitus, depression and auditory hallucinations.

Contents

Background

The principle of inductive brain stimulation with eddy currents has been noted since the 20th century. The first successful TMS study was performed in 1985 by Anthony Barker and his colleagues in Sheffield, England.[1] Its earliest application demonstrated conduction of nerve impulses from the motor cortex to the spinal cord, stimulating muscle contractions. The use of magnets rather than a direct electric current to the brain reduced the discomfort of the procedure and research and allowed mapping of the cerebral cortex and its connections.

Effects on the brain

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