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Rev Neurol. 2004 Feb 16-29;38(4):374-80.

[Transcranial magnetic stimulation. Applications in cognitive neuroscience].

[Article in Spanish]

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Institute of Movement Neuroscience, University College, Londres, UK.



In this review we trace some of the mayor developments in the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as a technique for the investigation of cognitive neuroscience. Technical aspects of the magnetic stimulation are also reviewed.


Among the many methods now available for studying activity of the human brain, magnetic stimulation is the only technique that allows us to interfere actively with human brain function. At the same time it provides a high degree of spatial and temporal resolution. Standard TMS applications (central motor conduction time, threshold and amplitude of motor evoked potentials) allow the evaluation of the motor conduction in the central nervous system and more complex TMS applications (paired pulse stimulation, silent period) permit study the mechanisms of diseases causing changes in the excitability of cortical areas. These techniques also allow investigation into motor disorder, epilepsy, cognitive function and psychiatric disorders.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation applications have an important place among the investigative tools to study cognitive functions and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Even so, despite the many published research and clinical studies, a systematic study about the possible diagnostic value and role in neurocognitive rehabilitation of TMS testing need to be realized to offer new possibilities of future applications.

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