DEVELOPMENT OF TMS
The origins of transcranial magnetic stimulation can be traced back to 1780 when the science of electrophysiology was first developed in Italy. The modern version of TMS began its evolution in the 1800s with the earliest use of magnetic fields to stimulate the brain, and continued the progression to England, where, in 1976, it was shown that nerves could be stimulated using short pulsating magnetic fields. In 1985, The U.K.’s Anthony Barker and the Sheffield Group designed a machine that utilized electromagnets, versus straight electrical currents that had been found to cause pain and seizures. Using the electromagnetic technology, they were able to stimulate the cerebral cortex with minimal discomfort.
Ongoing research on the effectiveness of TMS, with over 3,500 papers published on the subject, has consistently shown its effectiveness and promise in treating a full spectrum of conditions, including major depressive disorder, PTSD, autism, nicotine and cocaine addiction, and more. In 2008 the FDA approved TMS for the treatment of drug-resistant depression following convincing study data collected in 2000 by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-sponsored multi-site, randomized controlled trial. The study of 190 patients with medication-resistant depression produced statistically significant results, showing the clear antidepressant effects of TMS, while also providing evidence of its safety and efficacy.
In 2012 a breakthrough study by Linda Carpenter from Butler Hospital at Brown University was conducted in real-world clinical settings. Although about 30 such trial studies had preceded this one, these recent study results validated TMS efficacy, demonstrating a 58% positive response rate and a 37% remission rate.