The History of TMS
In 1982, researchers at the University of Sheffield, Michael Polson, Professor Anthony Barker, and Ian Freeston developed a electromagnetic coil and stimulator which they used on the peripheral nerves of the forearm. A few years later, Professor Barker, Reza Jalinous, and Ian Freeston used the coil and stimulator in a “transcranial” manner to stimulate the brain’s motor cortex. Upon publication of their study in Lancet in 1985, researchers around the world became interested in this new way to help understand the function of different parts of the brain.
Since the mid-1990s, TMS has been studied as antidepressant therapy. Researchers like Mark S. George, MD and Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD began using TMS devices to see if they could improve depression symptoms for patients with treatment refractory depression. The TMS coils and stimulators have been used by researchers around the world in different ways to help improve psychiatric and neurological conditions.
In 2006, the largest randomized, placebo-controlled study ever conducted with TMS Therapy was completed. This study was sponsored by Neuronetics, (now NeuroStar). In 2008, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system was cleared for use by the FDA for the treatment of adult patients with major depressive disorder who had failed to receive benefit from prior antidepressant medication treatment.
Brainsway Deep TMS received FDA clearance to treat major depression for those who have not improved from prior antidepressant medication treatment in 2013.
Since this time, now five other devices have been FDA cleared for use in the US: MagStim, MagVenture, CloudTMS, NextStim, and Mag and More. There are other devices approved outside of the USA.
In the fall of 2018, Brainsway received FDA clearance to treat OCD with TMS and MagVenture received Theta Burst protocol approval. Multiple other devices now feature this same FDA cleared protocol.
As of 2019, over 17,200 papers had been published regarding the use of TMS in stimulating select regions of the brain.
The field of TMS has exploded and helps many patients break free from depression.
The image on the Left is Anthony T. Barker during demonstration of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in London, 1985. In the image to the right, Anthony T. Barker (far right), Ian L. Freeston (middle), and Reza Jalinous (left) are presenting a TMS device in 1985.