What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
Since the 1980's, Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and on to the muscles. In the 1990's, physicians began to explore the theraputic potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date. Since then over 100 controlled and randomized trial studies of TMS have been conducted through out the world.
About NeuroStar TMS Therapy
The NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy system, developed by neuronetics, is the first and only non-systemic and non-invasive depression treatment cleared by the FDA for patients who have not benefited from prior antidepressant treatments.
NeuroStar TMS therapy is:
- Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery, it doesn't not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
- Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the bloodstream.
How Does TMS Work?
TMS devices work by generating concentrated electromagnetic pulses which turn on and off very rapidly. These pulses are targeted at areas of the brain involved in mood regulation and shown to be inactive in patients suffering from depression.
As the magnetic fields move in the brain, they produce very small electric currents. These electrical currents are thought to activate brain cells in these inactive regions and release neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine — all of which work to naturally combat the symptoms of depression.
The exact mechanics of TMS are still of unknown origin, but the science behind TMS is constantly being explored and understood. Today, researchers can only observe the effects that electromagnetic stimulation from TMS has on the brain. However this is changing with more and more TMS related studies being completed.
Your First treatment session
Your TMS certified physician needs to determine how to most effectively administer treatment. Your first session could last up to an hour and a half. You will be asked to wear protective earplugs during the procedure, this is because the system emits sound when operating. Your physician will customize your magnetic field strength and after correct dosing has been identified therapy will be administered over 19-40 minutes.
After the procedure you are able to return to your normal daily routine, including driving. During or after treatment you may experience headache or discomfort at the site of stimulation. These are common side effects that often improve with continued treatment.
In clinical trials most patients who benefited from NeuroStar TMS therapy experienced results by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time. If symptoms persist you may want to consider other anti-depressant options.