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What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

About Depression & NeuroStar TMS Therapy®

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TestimonialsI first began experiencing depression between 18 and 23, but probably younger. I remember panic attacks at 23 which was 10 years ago. My depression is chronic and my anxiety was crippling. Depression has robbed me of so many years and memories with my kids and family.

After a really bad panic attack, I decided to begin TMS Therapy. I’m on treatment number 11 with TMS and my whole life has changed.
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What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Since the 1980s, transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and onto the muscles. In the late 1990s physicians began to explore the therapeutic potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date. Since then, more than 30 randomized, controlled trials studying transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for depression have been published by investigators throughout the world.

NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy was recently FDA-cleared for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medications.* Using pulsed magnetic fields, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy stimulates the part of the brain thought to be involved with mood regulation.

TMS Therapy is a short outpatient procedure, performed in your psychiatrist’s office under their supervision while you remain awake and alert. The typical initial course of treatment is about 37 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.

About NeuroStar TMS Therapy

The NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) system, developed by Neuronetics, is the first and only non-systemic and non-invasive depression treatment cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with major depression who have not benefited from prior antidepressant treatment.*

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

NeuroStar TMS Therapy® is a short outpatient procedure performed in a psychiatrist’s office. The treating clinician uses a treatment coil to send a pulsed magnetic field, similar in type and strength to magnetic fields produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, to the part of your brain thought to control mood.

TMS Therapy® is a highly targeted treatment reaching 2-3 centimeters into the brain, directly beneath the treatment coil. The nature of the magnetic field allows it to pass through a patient’s hair, skin and skull and into the mood-regulating area without being distorted in any way. This method allows for precise, targeted stimulation, minimizing the stimulation of brain tissue not involved in mood.

These magnetic pulses produce very small electrical currents. The amount of electricity created in the brain is very small and cannot be felt by a patient. These small electric currents can cause the neurons (brain cells) to fire or become active and lead to the release of neurotransmitters (the brain’s chemical messengers).

References:

  1. Schutter, D. (2009). "Antidepressant efficacy of high-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in double-blind sham-controlled designs: a meta-analysis." Psychological Medicine 39: 65-75.