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FAQ

What is the history of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Since the 1980s, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and on to the muscles. In the late 1990s, physicians began to explore the therapeutic potential of TMS for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date. Since then, researchers have started looking in to using TMS for the successful treatment of many new indications such as OCD, bipolar depression, addiction, and stroke rehabilitation (just to name a few).

Why does TMS work?

Through a treatment coil, the TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which are rapidly switched on and off. These magnetic fields do not directly affect the whole brain; they only reach a few centimeters into the brain, directly beneath the treatment coil. TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation refers to a medical treatment which is delivered by a device that generates changing magnetic fields.   There are many devices which can be used by clinicians.  At present, in general, the devices are positioned over the area of the brain which has been targeted by the clinician.  For depression, this area is the prefrontal cortex of the brain.  These magnetic fields can create electrical activity in the nerve cells.  At the present time, the mechanism of action is not known, but could be related to this direct electric activity or indirect neurotransmitter effects in the brain.  Regardless of the mechanism, it is well accepted by researchers and clinicians, that the magnetic stimulation effects not only the targeted area, the prefrontal cortex, but also the connected areas of the brain, the cingulate, amygdala, hypothalamus, and thalamus.

When is TMS used?

Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are the first line of treatment for major depression. These treatments, however, do not work for all patients. In these instances, rTMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) might be used as an alternative treatment, or to augment antidepressant medications or psychotherapy. Patients who have failed to achieve an adequate response from antidepressants, or who are unable to tolerate medications, should consider TMS therapy.

Who Administers TMS?

TMS is always prescribed by a TMS treater. At Oasis TMS, all TMS treaters are specifically TMS credentialed by a qualified trainer. The initial motor threshold is always administered by a physician and a TMS treater. The treatment itself is administered by an experienced TMS treater under the supervision of a TMS physician or by the TMS physician. The TMS treater or physician will always be present to monitor the patient during the treatment. The patient can stop at any time just by asking the treater or physician present.

How Long is an TMS Procedure?

TMS therapy involves a series of treatment sessions. Treatment sessions take just under 19 minutes in the chair, se we ask patients to plan to be at the office for about 30 minutes. Patients receive TMS 5 days a week, for 6 weeks, amounting to 36 sessions.

Do I need to be Hospitalized for a Course of TMS?

Unlike ECT, TMS does not require any kind of sedation or general anesthesia, so patients are fully awake and aware during the treatment. There is no “recovery time” either, so patients can drive home afterwards and return to their usual activities.

Does TMS Work?

Through a treatment coil, the TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which are rapidly switched on and off. These magnetic fields do not directly affect the whole brain; they only reach a few centimeters into the brain, directly beneath the treatment coil. TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation refers to a medical treatment which is delivered by a device that generates changing magnetic fields.   There are many devices which can be used by clinicians.  At present, in general, the devices are positioned over the area of the brain which has been targeted by the clinician.  For depression, this area is the prefrontal cortex of the brain.  These magnetic fields can create electrical activity in the nerve cells.  At the present time, the mechanism of action is not known, but could be related to this direct electric activity or indirect neurotransmitter effects in the brain.  Regardless of the mechanism, it is well accepted by researchers and clinicians, that the magnetic stimulation effects not only the targeted area, the prefrontal cortex, but also the connected areas of the brain, the cingulate, amygdala, hypothalamus, and thalamus.

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