Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive technique used for stimulating muscle, brain, and neural tissues. The principle of TMS is based on Michael Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction, where magnetism and electricity share a unique relationship. When an electromagnetic coil is placed over the scalp and a short pulse of current is sent through the coil, a proportional magnetic field is created around the coil. The pulsating magnetic field can penetrate through the skull unimpeded and induce an electric field in the underlying region of cortical tissue of the brain. An electrical field sufficient enough can cause firing of neurons within the area and could ultimately cause pathways in the brain to become more active or strengthen. TMS can be used over a variety of different areas of the brain to study a wide range of fields, including: behaviour, perception, attention, memory, mood and emotion.
TMS was approved by Health Canada in 2002 as a treatment for symptoms of depression in those not responding to antidepressants. Research has shown that through the application of multiple TMS treatment sessions, that symptoms of depression can be lessened or even relieved. Due to this, TMS has not only become a device for therapeutic uses, but popular among the field of neuropsychiatry. TMS is currently being used for treating a variety of disorders, such as: Schizophrenic Auditory Hallucinations, Tinnitus, Anxiety Disorders, Neurodegenerative Disease, Hemiparesis, Post Traumatic Stress, and Pain Syndromes.
Current Research Projects involving TMS