How coil-cortex distance relates to age, motor threshold, and antidepressant response to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2000 Summer;12(3):376-84. doi: 10.1176/jnp.12.3.376.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a tool with antidepressant potential that uses a coil placed on the scalp to produce a powerful magnetic field that directly stimulates only the outermost cortex. MRI scans were obtained in 29 depressed adults involved in an rTMS antidepressant clinical treatment. These scans were analyzed to investigate the effect of distance from coil to cortex on clinical parameters. Longer motor cortex distance, but not prefrontal distance, strongly correlated with increased motor threshold (P<0.01). Clinical antidepressant response did not correlate with either distance. The rTMS antidepressant responders, however, were significantly younger (t=-2.430, P<0.05), and there appears to be a maximum threshold of age and distance to prefrontal cortex for response.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Motor Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Skull
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents