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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation – TMS – is a treatment for major depression that is innovative, safe and recognized by the College of Physicians of Quebec. This service is covered by the majority of insurance companies and sometimes even by the RAMQ. The CHUM, the McGill University Health Center and the University Institute of Mental Health of Quebec offer it, but the waiting list is 8 to 12 months.

Neuroperforma, a leader in neurofeedback-type neuromodulation, is planning to offer transcranial magnetic stimulation. A waiting list is now available to reserve your place, without any obligation. Click on this link to reserve your place without any obligation.

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation – TMS – is a sophisticated neurotechnology that has been the subject of clinical research since 1995. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration –FDA– approved it as a treatment for depression. In Quebec, it is recognized by the College of Physicians.

How does TMS differ from other treatments for depression?

The last century has brought dazzling advances in the understanding of the brain and psychological health disorders.

At the beginning of the century, observation of depressive symptoms and their treatment using psychotherapy gave rise to psychotherapeutic types of treatments.

By mid-century, the discovery of the positive effects of certain drugs on mood gave rise to a view of biochemical imbalance in the brain as the cause of depression. Different drugs have been developed with the aim of increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. But given that the drug acts on the entire brain, including regions that already function normally, many side effects are often associated with them, such as cognitive decline, sleep disturbances, weight gain and loss of libido.

With the dazzling advances in neuroscience, an in-depth understanding of the brain and its neuroelectrical functioning has developed. Depression is now known as a disruption of the electrical circuit of mood which includes several regions of the brain.

Within the mood circuit, more evolved regions which normally control emotions and thoughts (in blue on the image), lose their power to act, giving free reign to negative emotions and ruminations (in red on the image).

With the creation of sophisticated neurotechnologies such as TMS, it is now possible to stimulate specific regions of the brain that lack vigor and power of action, without modifying healthy regions of the brain. SMT, in addition to being effective, is almost free of side effects.

How does TMS help treat depression?

TMS activates the evolved region of the brain that controls emotions in order to stay on track in a positive and constructive way.

Normally, this region, located forward in the left lobe, reacts first in an emotional situation to organize a reaction that helps maintain balance. On the other hand, in depression, in many cases, this region has lost its vigor, and the emotional regions of the brain are expressed first and take over.

The result is heightened emotionality, negative thoughts that loop and feelings of helplessness and despair. We feel sad, irritable, inferior, anxious and often trapped in this state of unhappiness.

By restoring power to the region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), TMS restores order and negative thoughts are finally controlled.

TMS to regain control of your life

In a TMS treatment, a sophisticated magnet is placed directly above the dlPFC. The magnet is activated at a specific frequency which has the effect of stimulating the activity of the dlPFC neurons. When activated, they play their natural role which is to calm and control the center of emotions. The emotion calms down, anxiety and negative thoughts subside, the person sees more clearly and feels more present. Their mood gradually improves during treatment.

The effectiveness of TMS

Over the past twenty years, numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the ability of TMS to reduce depressive symptoms in those for whom drug treatments have not had a positive effect. At least 60% of these people would see a reduction of their symptoms by at least 50%, and 30% of them would be considered non-depressed at the end of treatment.

Side effects of TMS

TMS is very safe and has almost no side effects. The most common are localized discomfort during stimulation. Some people may also have headaches that may last for a few hours. Sometimes some people experience discomfort in the eyes, teeth or jaw which is relieved with painkillers. Rarely, anxiety or difficulty falling asleep may occur during the first treatments. TMS may be considered by some to be noisy.

The treatment

Each TMS treatment is done over a period of 30 minutes. Treatments take place 5 days a week for 6 weeks, followed by two sessions per week for 3 weeks, for a total of 36 sessions.

Contraindications to TMS

TMS is normally well tolerated. Please note that people who wear a metallic or ferromagnetic item that cannot be removed and are brought within 30cm of the magnet may not be eligible for TMS and should seek advice from the TMS provider if they have one or other of these items:

  • Implanted electrodes
  • Stimulators
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Cochlear implants
  • Metal fragment
Reserve your place on the waiting list, without any obligation

Register on the waiting list and get $250 off the cost of your treatment. This does not oblige you to receive the treatment, but ensures your place on the waiting list. Please fill in the form to be added to our waiting list.

The services offered are reimbursed by several insurance companies.
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