What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and How Is It Used to Treat Major Depression?

Read Transcript

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is where we provide a focused magnetic pulse to a specific part of the brain, and it activates or suppress those brain cells. So, the device is the small strength of a small MRI scan, but the magnetic field is about the size of my fingers and the depth of my fingers.

So, it about maybe an inch or an inch, and a half or an inch across, and about four inch down and it's focused, it's almost at the corner shape. So, what you do is you take this device, you put it on the patients head, and the magnetic field is generated inside the brain. Now, if you read from high school physics, magnetic fields can be converted into electrical currents.

So, when you keep stimulating that part of the brain where's magnetic field you basically generate electrical impulses in those brain cells, and those brain cells start firing. If you keep stimulating a part of the brain over an extended period of time, that increase file rate is self sustain until learning happens too.

So, if you learn a certain fact, if your brain cells to keep reading those facts, those brain cells I have been making exercise by the fire of the brain, and that firing itself sustains with the small consolidation same concept with magnetic stimulation, if it get's into bracket TMS, you can activated part of the brain that's the 10 power's.

Ten power's if it's slotted in one hand you can press the part of the brain. So, that is the tool. Now, that has been combined with new findings where through biological and scientific data and functional brain imaging. We've identify which parts if the brain contribute to which conditions.

A functional brain imaging is where somebody's in MRI scan or PET scan, and they're asked to do certain test, and we can see which parts of the brain that increase metabolism going on. So, one of the more consistent finding function brand imaging is the decrease level of activity in electrons that are pre-fangled cortex, which is the part of the brain, in front left part of the brain, that is important for enjoyment and motivation.

And studies have shown people with depression have decreased activity in that region. And whether the activity is normalized, irrespective of the treatment, whether it was like therapy, or like to drop therapy of medications normalizes this activity was associated with recovery from depression.

So, with TMS what you really do is you bring this TMS device to that part of the brain, and you stimulate that part of the brain. It's like an hour, each treatment takes more than an hour, and you do it five days a week for about six weeks or so. And if the patient start's feeling better usually by the second and third week they start feeling better.

And by about the sixth week there in full omission. So, it' a very focused way of treating the depression. In fact, it's been approved FDA approved for depression for the last 4 years, for treatment related to depression. And it's the only treatment that currently avialable with FDA approval that specifically targets the perceived biology of depression.