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Transcranial magnetic stimulation

NeuroStar uses transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to target key areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression.

5 It is not ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that it is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells.

During a NeuroStar treatment session, a magnet similar in strength to that used in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is used to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain thought to control mood. These magnetic pulses may have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, making long-term remission possible.

  • Therapy sessions are conducted in your doctor’s office

  • You can return to normal activities right away

  • You are awake during treatment

  • There are no negative effects on memory or sleep

  • It’s covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Tricare

In psychiatry, it has shown potential with anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The most promising areas to target for OCD appear to be the orbitofrontal cortex and the supplementary motor area. It has also been studied with autism, substance abuse, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), also known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation in which a changing magnetic field is used to cause electric current at a specific area of the brain through electromagnetic induction. An electric pulse generator, or stimulator, is connected to a magnetic coil, which in turn is connected to the scalp. The stimulator generates a changing electric current within the coil which induces a magnetic field; this field then causes a second inductance of inverted electric charge within the brain itself.

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