Home / Research / by Art Crotty

Transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of mood disorder: a review and comparison with electroconvulsive therapy



To review repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a mode of therapy for depression.


The following aspects of rTMS were reviewed and compared with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): history, basic principles, technical considerations, possible mode of action, safety, adverse effects, and effects on mood in both healthy individuals and those suffering from bipolar disorder (BD) or depression.


rTMS may selectively increase or decrease neuronal activity over discrete brain regions. As a result of this focused intervention with TMS, the potential for unwanted side effects is substantially reduced, compared with ECT. In open trials, rTMS and ECT are reported to be equally efficacious for patients having depression without psychosis, but the therapeutic benefits reported in double-blind sham-rTMS controlled trials are more modest.


The antidepressant and antimanic effects of rTMS depend on technical considerations such as stimulus frequency, intensity, and magnetic coil placement, which may not yet be optimized. Biological heterogeneity among the patients treated with rTMS may also contribute to differing efficacy across clinical trials. rTMS may possess tremendous potential as a treatment for mood disorder, but this has not yet been realized. rTMS must still be regarded as an experimental intervention requiring further refinement.

Can J Psychiatry 2001 Oct;46(8):720-7
Hasey G.
Regional Mood Disorders Program, Department of Psychiatry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Share this story, choose your platform!

Have a Question?

The Association of PEMF Professionals connects practitioners all over the world to ensure those interested in PEMF can access a professional nearby.
Complete the form below and we will be in touch soon.
Contact Us

Become a Member


Gain access to all our research articles


Use our Member Discounts Program


Get AOPP Certified
You are enjoying 1 of 2 free previews