Transcranial magnetic stimulation in neurology

Lancet Neurol. 2003 Mar;2(3):145-56. doi: 10.1016/s1474-4422(03)00321-1.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive tool for the electrical stimulation of neural tissue, including cerebral cortex, spinal roots, and cranial and peripheral nerves. TMS can be applied as single pulses of stimulation, pairs of stimuli separated by variable intervals to the same or different brain areas, or as trains of repetitive stimuli at various frequencies. Single stimuli can depolarise neurons and evoke measurable effects. Trains of stimuli (repetitive TMS) can modify excitability of the cerebral cortex at the stimulated site and also at remote areas along functional anatomical connections. TMS might provide novel insights into the pathophysiology of the neural circuitry underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders, be developed into clinically useful diagnostic and prognostic tests, and have therapeutic uses in various diseases. This potential is supported by the available studies, but more work is needed to establish the role of TMS in clinical neurology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology