Summary: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) shows promise in diminishing the effects of early dementia and proves a safe and effective method for treating acute migraine and PPA.
Source: Loyola University Health System
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has shown significant efficacy in treating major depressive and obsessive compulsive disorders. A newly published literature review by Antonio H. Iglesias, MD, a Loyola Medicine neurologist and assistant professor at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, highlights the compelling scientific and clinical data supporting further studies into the use of TMS to treat a broader range of common neurological conditions, including stroke, acute migraines and dementia.
A TMS device is made of one or two copper coils, positioned on an external, targeted area of a patient’s scalp, which produces brief, magnetic pulses to an estimated depth of approximately 2 to 2.5 centimeters. The magnetic field triggers changes in neuronal activity and communication, which can alter unwanted activity within the brain.
“TMS can work as a stimulant or an inhibitor of cerebral activity, or both,” says Dr. Iglesias. In addition, different sized coils and varying magnetic impulses can impact outcomes, depending on a patient’s neuroplasticity–the capacity for neurons and the nerve cells to change and compensate for injury and disease.
“Most importantly, TMS is well-tolerated by most patients with few side effects,” says Dr. Iglesias.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). According to the article, appearing in the February 4, 2020 journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, there are 1,641 studies underway utilizing TMS to treat a broad array of other neurological disorders, including more than 60 trials alone studying the effects of TMS to diminish or reverse the effects of early dementia. The most promising results are in the treatment of acute migraines and primary progressive aphasia (PPA), and the effects of stroke.
“TMS has now opened the field of neurology in multiple areas,” says Dr. Iglesias. “And, there are many variables that could be studied and arranged to improve brain functionality and network connections.”
Loyola Medicine is already successfully utilizing TMS in the treatment of depression and OCD, and “it is my hope that we can begin to explore utilizing this treatment for dementia, and specifically the early effects of PPA, which can rapidly diminish language and other cognitive skills,” says Dr. Iglesias.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as Treatment in Multiple Neurologic Conditions
Purpose of Review Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a method of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation that is based on electro-physical principles discovered by Michael Faraday. A TMS device is made of one or two copper coils, positioned superficially to a site of interest in the brain, to non-invasively produce a brief magnetic pulse to an estimated depth from the surface of the scalp with the following axonal depolarization. This axonal depolarization activates cortical and subcortical networks with multiple effects. There are different methods of TMS used, all with different mechanisms of action. TMS is well tolerated with very few side effects.
Recent Findings TMS is now approved for major depression disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is significant data to consider approval of TMS for many neurological disorders. This is a review of the uses of TMS in diverse neurological conditions, including stroke and spasticity, migraine, and dementia.
Summary TMS is a device that utilizes non-invasive brain stimulation, and it has shown promising results with objective clinical and basic science data. Its ability to trigger neuronal plasticity and potentiating synaptic transmission gives it incredible therapeutic potential. There are diverse mechanisms of action, and this could be troublesome in elaborating clinical trials and standardization of therapy.