Transcranial magnetic stimulation: neurophysiological applications and safety

Brain Cogn. 2002 Dec;50(3):366-86. doi: 10.1016/s0278-2626(02)00512-2.


TMS is a non-invasive tool for measuring neural conduction and processing time, activation thresholds, facilitation and inhibition in brain cortex, and neural connections in humans. It is used to study motor, visual, somatosensory, and cognitive functions. TMS does not appear to cause long-term adverse neurological, cardiovascular, hormonal, motor, sensory, or cognitive effects in healthy subjects. Single-pulse (<1Hz) TMS is safe in normal subjects. High frequency, high-intensity repetitive TMS (rTMS) can elicit seizures even in normal subjects. Safety guidelines for using rTMS have been published.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neuropsychology / methods*
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Skull
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / adverse effects*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology