A couple of minutes is all it takes to knock out bits of your brain for an hour, according to a new study by a University College London (UCL) team. The team have been working on ways to improve a method known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and are now using their adapted version of TMS to investigate possible treatments for stroke patients or those with Parkinsons disease.
In the latest issue of the journal Neuron, Professor John Rothwell and colleagues from UCLs Institute of Neurology discovered ways to improve TMS to produce effects on the brain that last for more than an hour after only 40 seconds of stimulation. Longer-lasting effects will enable scientists to use TMS to modify brain activity in conditions ranging from depression to brain damage.
TMS stimulates the brain via a magnetic coil held outside the skull which can be moved over different parts of the brain. The magnetic fields created by the coil induce tiny electrical currents inside the skull that alter the activity of neural pathways, stimulating or inhibiting activity in parts of the brain.
Jenny Gimpel | EurekAlert!
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