Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) is among the newest forms of non-invasive brain therapy. During treatment, patients undergo administration of electromagnetic pulses to the brain. The theory behind this practice is that cellular activity imbalance in the brain can lead to certain conditions; the electromagnetic pulses are used to help restore this balance. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation was originally approved for the treatment of major depression, though it is sometimes used for other purposes, such as smoking cessation. Prior to the development of dTMS, a technique known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation was the standard electromagnetic brain therapy. The two operate on the same premise, though the technology used for each differs somewhat, which produces a variance in results. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation is often regarded as more beneficial, the reasons for which will be described below.
Benefits of DTMS Over RTMS
For both procedures, electromagnetic pulses are produced by coils that are placed on the head. The dTMS coil is referred to as an H-coil while the one used for rTMS has been coined a figure-eight coil. Due to the H-coil design, pulses delivered during dTMS are able to reach depths of four centimeters into the brain. As well, multiple areas of the brain are able to be stimulated at once because of the wide-reaching electromagnetic field it creates. Conversely, pulses administered during rTMS are only able to reach a depth of 1.5 centimeters into the brain, and the magnetic field is not as large. This means that less stimulation of important centers occurs, with a smaller coverage area.
According to the Advanced Mental Health Care Inc., a single session of dTMS lasts only 20 minutes, while the duration is closer to 40 minutes for rTMS. In other words, it takes 50% less time for the completion of a round of dTMS, allowing people to return back to daily life sooner. Both require patients to attend sessions each day of the week, for four to six consecutive weeks. Fortunately, both are also safe, well-tolerated and relatively painless.
In terms of treatment for major depression, both dTMS and rTMS have been shown to be effective at reducing symptoms. A multicenter study found that, when treated with 16 weeks worth of dTMS, 32.6% of people (out of 230 individuals) experienced a state of remission afterwards, says Brainsway. A similar study on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of major depression found that, of 419 patients who received rTMS, 33.4% were depression free at the study’s end, adds Clinical EEG and Neuroscience.
Regarding the efficacy of such therapies as a smoking cessation aid, researchers found that dTMS promoted a significant abstinence rate. One hundred and fifteen habitual smokers were administered two weeks of high frequency dTMS, resulting in a 44% abstinence rate at the end of the study, notes an article published in Biological Psychiatry. When used for the same purpose, a preliminary study of rTMS found that 19 out of 42 people remained abstinent from smoking after one year of treatment, says Medscape.com. Each of these people were also enrolled in cognitive-behavioral therapy, which could have altered the results.
Reports on the effectiveness of dTMS for the treatment of major depression and nicotine dependence are fairly similar, though samples sizes and other outlying factors may have potentially influenced results. Regardless, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation remains more beneficial in that it is better able to reach deep, important structures of the brain. As well, the time it takes to complete a session of dTMS is half that of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which enables people to return to daily life much faster.
Westside Neurotherapeutics offers dTMS treatments Los Angeles for depression and smoking cessation. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or visit us online at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.