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Re: what is TMS? Sara Field

Posted by Pfinstegg on January 16, 2003, at 22:55:50

In reply to Re: Omega-3 questions, posted by Sara Field on January 16, 2003, at 16:31:16

TMS is a treatment for depression which is roughly equivalent to ECT, but which can be given while you are awake. A magnetic coil is placed over you left frontal lobe and an electromagnetic current is delivered at just below the level which would cause a seizure. ECT, given while you are anesthetized, is supposed to cause a seizure. Unlike the electric current given in ECT, which is scattered by the bones of your skull, and therefore has to be quite powerful, the electromagnetic current given in TMS passes easily through the skull to a precise location in your left dorsolateral prefrontal lobe. The effect there is to increase the blood flow, which is decreased in major depression, and to help reset the levels of neurotransmitters towards normal. The magnetic current is also thought to spread to deeper structures, such as the hippocampus and basal ganglia, and to have a similiar effect on the blood flow and neurotransmitters there. One session consists of 400 electromagnetic impulses, which takes about 20 minutes; a usual course of treatment is 15 sessions, but can be as many as 25. You can talk and think normally during the treatments, and drive yourself there and back.

For some people, the treatment is reasonably comfortable; for me. it was quite painful, but once I was given Tylenol with codeine to take an hour before, I got through them fairly comfortably. I didn't ever have a headache or any other side-effect. They have helped me tremendously; I had a treatment-resistant depression for 8 years, with many drug trials, but, for now, at least, it is completely gone. And it is very comforting to know that I can come for "boosters" if I need them in the future- as some people do with ECT.

Well, that's about the extent of what I know!





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