April 13, 2022 – With nearly 8% of American adults (nearly 20 million people) living with depression, data suggests that medication and talk therapy are only effective in treating around two-thirds of depressive patients, underscoring a concerning gap of people left without relief. In clinical terms, this group of people who are unable to find sufficient benefit through medication is deemed “treatment-resistant”, leaving them feeling without answers or help. However, an alternative type of FDA-cleared treatment is on the rise.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or “TMS”, is a non-invasive method of brain stimulation that relies on electromagnetic induction using an insulated coil placed over the scalp, focused on an area of the brain thought to play a role in mood regulation. The coil generates brief magnetic pulses, which pass easily and painlessly through the skull and into the brain. The pulses generated are of the same type and strength as those generated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. The approach is gaining incredible traction and acceptance as an effective therapy for treatment-resistant depression due to its high efficacy and safety – in addition to patients experiencing no systemic side effects. The ongoing innovation surrounding new types of TMS continues to bring hope to millions of individuals living with mental illness, with a growing number of patients speaking out about the promising results, demonstrating an encouraging shift in the mental health industry.  While the concept of using magnetic pulses to stimulate the human brain and other parts of the body in an attempt to treat diseases can be traced back to more than 100 years ago, the first modern TMS device was introduced in 1985 by Dr. Anthony Barker. His device and studies proved the influence of magnetic stimulation on the motor cortex to alter the brain’s electrical signals with the use of magnetic fields. At present, devices for repetitive electromagnetic induction have been developed such that different parameters, including the ability to increase or decrease the excitability of cortical areas, can be modified to research neurological and psychological conditions.