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How is TMS different from ECT?

Both TMS and ECT are forms of neuromodulation used to treat depression. Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) involves passing an electric current through the brain. This causes a generalized (grand mal) seizure. It therefore requires a general anesthetic. While having ECT, patients may require inpatient care or require someone to drive them to and from ECT treatments. ECT can cause short term memory loss for the period before and after each treatment session. Patients usually have 6-12 treatment sessions over three to six weeks and few patients have memory loss for this whole time period.

How long is a typical TMS Course?

Every patient is different. Most large TMS research studies provided treatment five days a week for 4-6wks up to 36 sessions for a figure of 8 coil treatment. H-coil treatments have been studied for 5 days a week of treatment followed by 12 weeks of treatment 2 times a week for a total of 44 sessions. There is no demonstrated toxicity from treatment beyond this amount of sessions and, in some situations, it may be reasonable to continue treatments beyond this number. Some people may require a schedule of maintenance treatments to maintain their treatment results.

How does it work?

TMS delivers magnetic pulses to certain brain regions, producing changes in the activity of the brain cells. The frequency of pulse delivery influences whether brain activity is increased or decreased in the affected cells. This means that the effects of TMS treatment can be long lasting because it changes the patterns by which nerve cells and brain networks connect and communicate with each other.

What is TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS is a non-invasive, diagnostic and therapeutic technique that uses small magnetic fields to stimulate or inhibit regions of the brain by electromagnetic induction through a small generator coil (Figure-8 or H-coil), placed over the patient's head. It can be used for the treatment of conditions such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).