Aalto University is developing new Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) technology to provide faster more effective treatments. TMS is currently FDA approved and currently being used to treat treatment resistent depression. Imagine experiencing chronic pain and depression that is so severe that not even medications and therapy could treat it. Fortunately, for those who receive professional help, their treatments involve a combination of therapies and one such example is TMS.
TMS has been around since the mid 1980s when Dr. Anthony Barker and his team created the first TMS device in the UK city of Sheffield. The Aalto led team is looking into developing more efficient means of determining the location, orientation, and frequency through the ConnectToBrain project. Traditional TMS devices have only one magnetic coil however, the ConnectToBrain has developed one with multiple coils allowing more than one location of the brain to be stimulated at the same time. It also includes an electroencephalogram (EEG) to image the brains electrical response in real time.
The ConnectToBrain project also aims to focus on treating Alzheimer's and Stroke. They are setting algorithms to read patients' brain in real time to effectively and efficiently adjust the location, orientation, intensity, and timing of the electrical stimulations. Their new hardware can quickly shift the electrical stimulus from one part of the brain to another without the manual work of a TMS operator and/or technician. While this opens a new clinical and research area, the multi-locus device can stimulate two different locations at the same time which is something that couldn't be done in the past with just one coil. The researchers predict that the new TMS technology that is under development will help physicians work even deeper in the brain to target issues such a chronic pain, depression, and more.
Read more about the study here.