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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2013 Mar;15(1):87-98.

Applications of transcranial magnetic stimulation and magnetic seizure therapy in the study and treatment of disorders related to cerebral aging.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.


in English, French, Spanish

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to probe cortical function and treat neuropsychiatric illnesses. TMS has demonstrated neuroplastic effects akin to long-term potentiation and long-term depression, and therapeutic applications are in development for post-stroke recovery, Alzheimer's disease, and depression in seniors. Here, we discuss two new directions of TMS research relevant to cerebral aging and cognition. First, we introduce a paradigm for enhancing cognitive reserve, based on our research in sleep deprivation. Second, we discuss the use of magnetic seizure therapy (MST) to spare cognitive functions relative to conventional electroconvulsive therapy, and as a means of providing a more potent antidepressant treatment when subconvulsive TMS has shown modest efficacy in seniors. Whether in the enhancement of cognition as a treatment goal, or in the reduction of amnesia as a side effect, these approaches to the use of TMS and MST merit further exploration regarding their clinical potential.


MST; TMS; aging; magnetic seizure therapy; neuroplasticity; neuroscience; transcranial magnetic stimulation

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