How Does rTMS Work?
The pulsing magnetic field causes nerves to fire more (stimulation) or less (inhibition) which in turn causes them to form more (or fewer) connections.
The nerves on the surface of the brain connect down through the brain to areas that have been shown to be important in causing the mental health condition being treated. The treatment leads to increases in grey matter in the affected areas, increased (or reduced) activity and hence leads to alleviation of symptoms and long-term improvements for patients.
It is also believed that TMS treatment leads to increases in Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which is important in brain health.
TMS treatment for depression targets the left prefrontal cortex that regulates mood. This area is known to be less active in patients with depression. Stimulation of this area triggers neuroplasticity and the release of BDNF, leading to increased activity in the deep brain (that can also be seen to be less active) leading to the long-term improvements that are experienced by most patients.