Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation, with over 30 years of application in neuroscientific and clinical research around the world.
Magstim TMS Therapy uses short pulses of magnetic energy to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. These magnetic pulses are delivered to the area in the brain that researchers believe is responsible for emotional judgement and mood regulation.¹ The rapid magnetic pulses created by the TMS system, pass through the skull and generate an electric current in the brain directly under the treatment coil. These electric currents cause neurons to fire and stimulate surrounding brain cells.
TMS therapy has been recommended by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) since 2010 for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and it is also approved by the UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared Magstim TMS Therapy systems for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode.
With MDD there are biological alterations in the brain, including an imbalance of activity in frontal brain regions.² These areas of the brain are involved in important mental processes and also have connections with deeper brain regions responsible for emotions.³ Due to the ability of rTMS to alter brain activity, it was first proposed as a therapy for MDD in the mid-1990s4. Since then, numerous studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of rTMS in MDD, especially in treatment-resistant patients who have not responded to antidepressants5.
Approximately 58% of treatment-resistant patients respond positively to rTMS therapy6.
¹O’Reardon, J. P., Solvason, H. B., Janicak, P. G., Sampson, S., Isenberg, K. E., Nahas, Z., … & Demitrack, M. A. (2007). Efficacy and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the acute treatment of major depression: a multisite randomized controlled trial. Biological psychiatry, 62(11), 1208-1216.
²Henriques, J. B., & Davidson, R. J. (1991). Left frontal hypoactivation in depression. Journal of abnormal psychology, 100(4), 535.
³De Raedt, R., Vanderhasselt, M. A., & Baeken, C. (2015). Neurostimulation as an intervention for treatment resistant depression: From research on mechanisms towards targeted neurocognitive strategies. Clinical Psychology Review, 41, 61-69.
4Höflich, G., Kasper, S., Hufnagel, A., Ruhrmann, S., & Möller, H. J. (1993). Application of transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment of drug‐resistant major depression—a report of two cases. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 8(5), 361-365.
5Gaynes, B. N., Lloyd, S. W., Lux, L., Gartlehner, G., Hansen, R. A., Brode, S., … & Lohr, K. N. (2014). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Psychiatry, 75(5), 477-489.
6Carpenter, L. L., Janicak, P. G., Aaronson, S. T., Boyadjis, T., Brock, D. G., Cook, I. A., … & Demitrack, M. A. (2012). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for major depression: a multisite, naturalistic, observational study of acute treatment outcomes in clinical practice. Depression and anxiety, 29(7), 587-596.