Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an
innovative, non-invasive and well-tolerated therapy that may be
used as a treatment option for a variety of neuropsychiatric
disorders. A large number of studies spanning more than 30 years
have shown it to be a powerful neuroscience tool for diagnostic and
rTMS is based on the phenomenon of
electromagnetic mutual induction that was first reported by Faraday
in 1831. In 1985, Anthony Barker and his colleagues developed the
first modern TMS device.
The rTMS technique generates brief
electromagnetic pulses via an insulated coil placed over the scalp,
which modulates the cortical activity of the brain. Daily rTMS
stimulation for several weeks has been shown to be effective in
reducing the symptoms of many neuropsychiatric disorders.
Moreover, studies have shown that the dorsolateral prefrontal
cortex (DLPFC) has a crucial role in improving cognitive
performance and, as a result, is a commonly used target area for
the treatment of many neuropsychiatric disorders such as
2008 was a significant year for TMS history,
as for the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) approved a TMS therapy device for the
clinical treatment of depression. This approval, together with the
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
recommendation on TMS for the treatment of depression in 2015, led
to the establishment of rTMS as a first-line treatment for patients
whose symptoms had not improved following treatment with at least
one prior antidepressant medication. This was followed by FDA
approval of rTMS for the treatment of migraine,
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar depression.
This module aims to provide a brief
introduction of rTMS therapy and its use in neuropsychiatry.