Transcranial magnetic stimulation: a new investigational and treatment tool in psychiatry

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2002 Fall;14(4):406-15. doi: 10.1176/jnp.14.4.406.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a new investigational technique used to explore various neural processes and treat a variety of neuropsychiatric illnesses. The most notable advantage of TMS is its ability to directly stimulate the cortex with little effect on intervening tissue. Single-pulse stimulation techniques can measure cortical inhibition, facilitation, connectivity, reactivity, and cortical plasticity, providing valuable insights into the cortical physiology. Repetitive TMS (rTMS) is currently being used to investigate cognitive processes and as a treatment tool in disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Both TMS and rTMS are safe and well tolerated. The most serious side effect of high-frequency rTMS is seizures. TMS represents an exciting new frontier in neuroscience research, providing insights into the pathophysiology and treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Periodicity