Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an alternative, non-invasive treatment that is typically used to treat depression in adults. It is administered by placing an electric coil along the scalp by the forehead. According to the Mayo Clinic, “the electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression.”

While TMS treatment is painless and non-invasive, there might be some minimal side effects, including headache, lightheadedness, scalp discomfort, or headache. It’s a treatment that has been approved by the FDA.

While mostly used for adults, when it comes to neuroatypical children, TMS has been explored as a potential alternative treatment for managing the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

According to Autism Speaks:

“By comparison, research on TMS as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remains in its infancy… Some of these clinical studies have suggested that TMS can help relieve symptoms such as irritability and repetitive behaviors and improve autism-related disabilities in areas such as eye-hand coordination and social skills.”

A journal from Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience states:

“Existing evidence supports that TMS could be useful to treat some dimensions of ASD. However, such evidence must be regarded with care, as most studies did not adequately control for placebo effects. Moreover, little is known regarding the most effective stimulation parameters, targets, and schedules. There is an urgent need for further randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trials, with adequate follow-up periods, to test the efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat these disorders. Available evidence must be regarded as preliminary and insufficient, at present, to support offering TMS to treat ASD.”

An Autism research associate at Bradley Hospital, Lindsey Oberman, gives an overview of how she uses TMS to treat children with Autism in this video:

TMS may also be used to treat Asperger’s Syndrome to help kids with Asperger’s manage their emotions, interact more positively in social situations, and better connect to those around them.

A neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital has conducted experimental research in applying TMS to children who have Epilepsy. Dr. Alexander Rotenberg’s research has found that “low-frequency repetitive TMS (rTMS), can calm down an over-excited brain and may suppress focal seizures.” There are ongoing clinical trials right now to see if TMS might prove beneficial to children who have temporal lobe Epilepsy.

This video gives an overview of a patient named Kate’s experience with TMS at Boston Children’s Hospital:

To find a practitioner who performs TMS, you can search the provider directory on Neuromodec. Your doctor or therapist may also be able to recommend a practitioner.

*It’s important to note that we do not maintain this list of practitioners and cannot recommend or vouch for any given practitioner on the list. It is our hope that you will simply use these links as a jumping-off point for your own research. 

Has your child had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment? Send us an email at info@thebrainpossible.com and let us know. If you are a practitioner who uses TMS treatment, we invite you to join our Practitioner Registry.