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David Jiles
The Future of Surgery-Free Brain Treatment?: Deep Stimulation Using Magnetic Fields for Non-invasive Therapy of Brain Disorders
February 7, 2017

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)--a method of stimulating regions of the brain using magnetic fields--is developing rapidly for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes for identifying and treating brain disorders. This talk will provide an overview of the state of current TMS technologies, how TMS differs from other modes of brain disorder treatment, where TMS as a field is heading in terms of regulatory and public acceptance, and new technological developments to improve its effectiveness. TMS is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of chronic depression and is being researched for treatment of stroke, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are working to improve the design of the magnetic coils that generate small electrical currents in the brain to more precisely stimulate deeper regions of the brain. The magnetic coils in use today are limited in their ability to stimulate the brain at depth and with high spatial resolution. Consequently any improvement in coil performance will have a significant impact in extending the practical usefulness of TMS in both clinical applications and academic research studies, potentially offering effective non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatments for brain disorders.