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Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that uses magnetic pulses applied to the scalp to stimulate the brain.

  • It has shown promise in reversing brain changes and providing rapid relief to severely depressed patients who have not responded to standard treatments.


How rTMS works:

  • rTMS works by generating electromagnetic pulses through a coil placed on the scalp, which modulates the cortical activity of the brain.
  • The mechanism of action for rTMS involves increasing neuronal activity and changing the strength of connections between different brain areas. The electromagnetic pulses create electrical currents in the brain tissue and affect the membrane potential of brain cells.



  • Studies have indicated that rTMS may alleviate depression by reversing abnormal signalling patterns between brain regions. It has also been found effective in reducing symptoms of various neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • The S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved rTMS as a treatment for clinical depression in 2008.
  • rTMS has also been investigated as a potential treatment for refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).