Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a technique of neuromodulation and neurostimulation based on the principle of electromagnetic induction of an electric field in the brain. The coil (H-coil) used in deep TMS is able to modulate cortical excitability up to a maximum depth of 6 cm and is therefore able not only to modulate the activity of the cerebral cortex but also the activity of deeper neural circuits. Deep TMS is largely used for the treatment of drug-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) and is being tested to treat a very wide range of neurological, psychiatric and medical conditions. The aim of this review is to illustrate the biophysical principles of deep TMS, to explain the pathophysiological basis for its utilization in each psychiatric disorder (major depression, autism, bipolar depression, auditory hallucinations, negative symptoms of schizophrenia), to summarize the results presented thus far in the international scientific literature regarding the use of deep TMS in psychiatry, its side effects and its effects on cognitive functions.
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