Neurophysiological and neuropsychiatric aspects of transcranial magnetic stimulation

Giancarlo Giupponi, Roger Pycha, Bernardo Dell'Osso, Maurizio Pompili, Michaela Walpoth, Armand Hausmann, Jan Di Pauli, Andreas Erfurth, Andreas Conca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The authors review the literature in the field of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Method: For this purpose a PubMed search was performed. Additional information was gained by cross-referencing from papers found in the data base. Results: Data from controlled studies as well as supplementary information from relevant review articles pertinent to the topic were used. History and the basics of TMS and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) are presented. The ability of rTMS to non-invasively modulate higher cognitive functions such as learning and memory has developed a new and exciting field. TMS, in fact, allows one to transiently disrupt ongoing cortical processing, thus helping to enlighten the causal role of a specific brain area in a certain observable behaviour. Finally, rTMS-clinical effectiveness in mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenic spectrum disorders and Parkinson's disease as well as in pain syndrome is discussed. Conclusions: rTMS in concert with functional neuroimaging methods allows to analyze neuronal networks. Long term potentiation (LTP) and long term depression (LTD) are phenomena seen in preclinical studies after rTMS, and reflect plastic neuromodulation. Changes in brain plasticity are thought to be mechanisms that underlie the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases like major depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-245
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Neuropsychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Higher cognitive functions
  • Long term depression (LTD)
  • Long term potentiation (LTP)
  • Mood disorders
  • Neuromodulation
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Pain-syndromes
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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