Biophysical foundations underlying TMS: setting the stage for an effective use of neurostimulation in the cognitive neurosciences

Cortex. 2009 Oct;45(9):1025-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2008.10.002. Epub 2008 Oct 22.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) induces electrical currents in the brain to stimulate neural tissue. This article reviews our present understanding of TMS methodology, focusing on its biophysical foundations. We concentrate on how the laws of electromagnetic induction apply to TMS; addressing issues such as the location, area (i.e., focality), depth, and mechanism of TMS. We also present a review of the present limitations and future potential of the technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / trends