ISSN 1308-8734 | E-ISSN 1308-8742
Review
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Clinical Applications in Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders: An Overview
1 Movement Disorders and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Unit, Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea González, México DF, México  
2 Panic and Respiration Laboratory, Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ); National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM), Brazil  
3 Faculty of Medicine of Federal University of Goiás, Goiás-GO, Brazil  
4 Institute of Phylosophy of Federal University of Uberlândia (IFILO/UFU), Brazil  
Eurasian J Med 2013; 45: 191-206
DOI: 10.5152/eajm.2013.39
Key Words: Brain, cortical activity, neuroplasticity, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, sensorimotor integration
Abstract

Neurological and psychiatric disorders are characterized by several disabling symptoms for which effective, mechanism-based treatments remain elusive. Consequently, more advanced non-invasive therapeutic methods are required. A method that may modulate brain activity and be viable for use in clinical practice is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). It is a non-invasive procedure whereby a pulsed magnetic field stimulates electrical activity in the brain. Here, we focus on the basic foundation of rTMS, the main stimulation parametters, the factors that influence individual responses to rTMS and the experimental advances of rTMS that may become a viable clinical application to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders. The findings showed that rTMS can improve some symptoms associated with these conditions and might be useful for promoting cortical plasticity in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, these changes are transient and it is premature to propose these applications as realistic therapeutic options, even though the rTMS technique has been evidenced as a potential modulator of sensorimotor integration and neuroplasticity. Functional imaging of the region of interest could highlight the capacity of rTMS to bring about plastic changes of the cortical circuitry and hint at future novel clinical interventions. Thus, we recommend that further studies clearly determine the role of rTMS in the treatment of these conditions. Finally, we must remember that however exciting the neurobiological mechanisms might be, the clinical usefulness of rTMS will be determined by its ability to provide patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders with safe, long-lasting and substantial improvements in quality of life.


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