What is TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a relatively new medical device used to treat depression. The machine has a coil attachment, which is placed over a specific area of the brain (the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or LDLPFC). The coil generates brief magnetic bursts (approximately 10 bursts per second), which will depolarize all of the neurons within 1 cm2 of the coil. In other words, TMS turns on the area of the brain underneath the coil. Over time, TMS is thought to enhance long-term activity of the area, which can help to alleviate—or completely eliminate—depression.
Depression Relief. Without Medication.
TMS is a therapeutic member of the “Non-Invasive Neuromodulation Devices,” or NIDS. NIDS are new techniques used to treat clinical conditions quickly & safely.
No Medication Required
No danger of weight gain, loss of sexual libido, excessive lethargy, or any other of the myriad negative side-effects typical of traditional anti-depressant medication.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
TMS is the application of only one single pulse, and is usually used to localize specific parts of the brain for further research in universities and medical centers. Repetitive TMS, or “rTMS” pulses a number of times per session, at a specific frequency.
TMS is very safe and has little to no adverse side effects if you meet the qualifications for enrollment.
TMS may be seen as an appropriate intervention for women who can’t currently take anti-depressant medication. Please contact us to learn more.
No, not at all! Unlike ECT, TMS has is not associated with memory loss, confusion, long recovery, or severe aches. Additionally, TMS does not require anesthesia of any kind. If you’re considering ECT for otherwise treatment-resistant depression, we strongly recommend that you try a course of TMS first.
The typical course of TMS consists of 30-36 sessions, 5 days a week, for roughly 6 weeks. This is often followed by a short “taper” schedule. TMS is a commitment, and patients who have immediate travel plans for long periods of time are often advised to begin the process once returning to LA.
The FDA’s guidelines are such that the magnet must be placed on the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (LDLPFC), and the magnet must be pulsed at 10 Hz, or 10 cycles per second. However, many clinicians and researchers have found that “low frequency” stimulation of 1 pulse per second on the opposite of the head (the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or RDLPFC) can work very well for the treatment of anxiety. Additionally, there is research showing that doubling the frequency to 20 Hz may be beneficial for certain people.
TMS is not currently FDA-approved for those under 18 years old. Feel free to contact us to learn more.
We work very aggressively to ensure that insurance companies cover as much of TMS course as possible. Please contact us to verify your benefits so we can give you a more accurate estimation. Note that we accept most major insurance providers, including Medicare. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept Medi-Cal at this time.
Yes, we are accepting new patients for the time being.
The current consensus is that depression has multiple etiologies, or causes. Depression can be the end result of environmental influences, such as grief, trauma, school performance, or work stressors. Similarly, depression can be caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Many researchers believe that depression can be caused by an imbalance of the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, where the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is underactive, but the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is overactive. This imbalance alters one’s ability to motive themselves, find enjoyment in life, and control intrusive thoughts. TMS can help to restore this balance by activating the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, thus leading to increased motivation, enjoyment, and self-control.