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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)



Interdisciplinary TMS Laboratory
Benzi Kluger , MD, Director

Marshall Thomas, MD, Steering Committee

Margaret Schenkman, PhD, Steering Committee

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is rapidly becoming one of the most important research tools in clinical neuroscience. TMS utilizes rapid magnetic pulses applied over the scalp with a small hand-held coil to induce precisely timed and localized electrical currents within the cortex of human subjects. Unlike other neuroimaging techniques, TMS modifies cortical activity and can thus be used to make causal inferences and treat certain illnesses. TMS has been used to investigate neurophysiologic parameters (such as cortical excitability), to map cortical functions non-invasively, to determine the precise timing of cerebral events, and to investigate the function of specific cortical areas. TMS is also being used in clinical research in the diagnosis of diseases affecting the corticospinal tract, the planning of neurosurgical procedures and the treatment of many conditions, including depression, hallucinations, pain, tinnitus, Parkinson’s disease and stroke rehabilitation.

The UCD Interdisciplinary TMS Laboratory is dedicated to improving our understanding of diseases affecting the central nervous system and developing treatments for these conditions. Our associated faculty includes members of the Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Internal Medicine, Psychology and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Areas of research interest include the treatment of psychiatric disorders, improving rehabilitation and speech therapy outcomes, investigating the neurophysiology of movement disorders and integrating TMS with other imaging modalities (MRI, MEG and EEG).

The TMS laboratory is equipped with standard circular and figure of eight coils as well as specialized coils for repetitive applications and the targeting of deeper cortical structures. Our stimulators are capable of delivering single pulse, paired pulse and repetitive stimulation. We are currently purchasing a system to allow the stereotactic delivery of TMS pulses based on neuroimaging (MRI). We are also upgrading our electromyography (EMG) capabilities to allow for better integrated muscle physiology recordings.

The TMS facility, like MRI and MEG, is available as a fee for service. Basic service includes preparatory time and TMS stimulation time and is billed based on time of use. Training in the application of TMS paradigms and a TMS technician are also available for an additional fee.  Investigators interested in using TMS will need to submit a Study Protocol Request (see link below) which will be reviewed by the steering committee. TMS faculty may also be consulted regarding aspects of experimental design and/or data analysis.

The TMS facility is also tied to the Department of Neurology and the UCD Depression Center where we are involved in clinical trials and the off-label use of TMS as a treatment modality for various neuropsychiatric disorders. A separate link below has more information on the clinical use of TMS at UCD.