Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Bipolar Disord. 1999 Dec;1(2):73-80.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation: perspectives for application in the treatment of bipolar and unipolar disorders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29403, USA.



Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) affects the brain by non-invasively stimulating the cerebral cortex and inducing electrical currents in neurons. The powerful magnetic field acts as a vector that passes across the scalp and the skull, and then converts into an electrical energy within the brain. Originally used in neurophysiology, TMS has since been applied in a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions, including mood disorders. Imaging studies in mood-disordered patients have pointed to dysfunctional limbic and prefrontal cortex activity. TMS researchers have thus postulated that dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) stimulation might change brain activity both locally and in paralimbic areas through transynaptic connections, and alter mood.


We will describe the technology of TMS, its applications to date, and explore its mechanisms of action.


Several clinical trials have demonstrated TMS effects on mood in health and disease. There is a growing consensus that TMS has antidepressant effects, although little is known about the role played by a variety of stimulation parameters such as the intensity or frequency of stimulation. One study has found an antimanic effect of right prefrontal TMS.


TMS is relatively safe; however, much more research is needed before TMS can be integrated into routine clinical practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk