Also Known As: rTMS, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarizationin 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 little discomfort, allowing for study of the brain's functioning and interconnections. A variant of TMS, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). According to the United States National Institute of Mental Health, TMS "uses a magnet instead of an electrical current to activate the brain. An electromagnetic coil is held against the forehead and short electromagnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The magnetic pulse easily passes through the skull, and causes small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted brain region. And because this type of pulse generally does not reach further than two inches into the brain, scientists can select which parts of the brain will be affected and which will not be. The magnetic field is about the same strength as that of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan." Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been tested as a treatment tool for various neurological and psychiatric disorders including migraine, stroke, Parkinson's disease,dystonia, tinnitus and depression.