Transcranial magnetic stimulation: A new tool in the fight against depression

Leon Grunhaus*, Pinhas N. Dannon, Ari A. Gershon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Since its introduction to the clinical realm in 1985, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has rapidly developed into a tool for exploring central nervous system function in both health and disease. The antidepressant effects of TMS were initially observed in 1993. Since then, a solid body of evidence has accumulated suggesting antidepressant effects for both slow TMS (sTMS) and repetitive TMS (rTMS). This review is divided into four parts. First, it addresses the basic concepts governing TMS, and then, second, it discusses the technical parameters involved in administering TMS. Knowledge of these parameters is necessary for understanding how TMS is administered, and how manipulation of the technique impacts on the results obtained. Third, we review the most relevant studies on the antidepressant effects of sTMS and rTMS published to date. Finally, we discuss cortical excitability and how the understanding of this basic neurophysiological function of cortical neurons can be used for monitoring the effects of TMS. In our discussion, we conclude that the time has arrived for TMS to be offered to depressed patients as a treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Antidepressant effect
  • Cortical excitability
  • Major depression
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)


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