TMS–used primarily for the aberrant mood swings experienced by TBI patients including depression, anxiety, etc. There is also evidence that TMS is beneficial for pain experienced by TBI patients.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Research Clinic at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital

What is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) utilizes an electromagnet placed on the scalp that generates magnetic field pulses roughly the strength of an MRI scan. The magnetic pulses stimulate a small area on the surface of the brain about the size of a quarter. Low frequency (once per second) TMS has been shown to induce small, sustained reductions in activity in the part the brain that has been stimulated. Currently we are conducting studies to determine whether low-frequency TMS can reduce hallucinated voices. Below are descriptions of these studies and information about how to contact us.


In one of the first studies to look at transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in real-world clinical practice settings, researchers at Butler Hospital, along with colleagues across the U.S., confirmed that TMS is an effective treatment for patients with depression who are unable to find symptom relief through antidepressant medications. The study findings are published online in the June 11, 2012 edition of Depression and Anxiety in the Wiley Online Library.

Previous analysis of the efficacy of TMS has been provided through more than 30 published trials, yielding generally consistent results supporting the use of TMS to treat depression when medications aren’t sufficient. “Those previous studies were key in laying the groundwork for the FDA to approve the first device for delivery of TMS as a treatment for depression in 2008,” said Linda Carpenter, MD, lead author of the report and chief of the Mood Disorders Program and the Neuromodulation Clinic at Butler Hospital.


What if there was a safer, non-invasive way to deliver analgesic neurostimulation? Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) holds out promise as just such a next-generation pain treatment. In TMS, a magnetic field generated outside the head alters circuit activity inside the brain. TMS was approved in 2008 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of major depression, and researchers are investigating TMS for a number of other neurological conditions, including chronic, intractable pain.

The evidence

Because TMS can modulate brain circuits safely and painlessly, the technique has had tremendous utility for studying pain processing, said Jean-Pascal Lefaucheur, a pioneer in the field of neurostimulation for pain at the Université Paris-Est, Créteil, France. Lefaucheur and his colleagues recently reviewed some of the hundreds of small studies that have examined the effects of TMS on evoked pain in experimental settings (Mylius et al., 2012).

Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist and pain researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, US, said there is much work to be done, but the potential payoff of TMS for pain makes it well worth pursuing. “It has a huge potential advantage over pain medications,” she said. Drugs move indiscriminately throughout the body, often causing side effects at non-target tissues that limit their use or even prevent them from getting into the clinic. TMS, by contrast, delivers its therapeutic effects directly to the brain, with only minor, local side effects. “That is the trump card of TMS over drugs,” Oaklander said