Transcranial brain stimulation has a certain appeal understandably because of the non-invasiveness of the procedure as well as the potential for targets and their therapeutic benefits. In fact, it isn’t a very novel procedure, as early as 43 A.D Roman physician, Scribonius Largus, was found to have used electricity from “torpedo fish” to treat his patients for headache. Claudius Galen another physician of the same era found the application of dead “torpedo fish” ineffective in treatment and concluded that the electricity from a live fish was responsible for its healing effects. Later in the early 19th century since the advent of the “voltaic pile”, earlier versions of our modern battery, electricity was used to treat various psychiatric disorders, with varying results. During the mid-20th century with the growing stigma for electrical stimulation, advent of Electro convulsive Therapy (ECT), and the “golden era” of psychopharmacology, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) lost its popularity as a mode of treatment. Trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was introduced in in 1985 by Anthony Barker, the physics of which was described by Michael Faraday in 1881. Later in the early 1990’s (George et al, 1995; Pascual-Leone et al., 1996)(1,2) repetitive Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) was increasing being used for depression and found to be effective, the protocols and methods as well as the instrument have undergone considerable change since then. rTMS finally saw its entry into clinical use after its FDA approval following sustained results in clinical efficiency (O’Reardon et al., 2007). (3) Currently this is the only FDA approved indication for neuropsychiatric use of rTMS. Other methods like the tDCS, tRNS(Trans-cranial Random Noise Stimulation), tACS (Trans-cranial Alternate Current Stimulation) and other variations of TMS are in their relative nascent stages but hold good promise for clinical use.
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How to cite this article:
Mulakaluri P P, Transcranial Stimulation – Where We Are Headed . Telangana J Psychiatry. 2016;2(2):58-60.