At Toronto Western Hospital, part of the University Health Network, rTMS is offered to patients suffering from refractory depression, and is also being studied for its use in postpartum depression, OCD, bulimia, and is soon to be investigated for its use in the treatment of borderline personality disorder.
Though it requires more of a time commitment than other treatments, rTMS is thought to be less invasive than DBS and ECT, and more tolerable than many treatments including traditional medications, as often the only side effect patients report is some scalp discomfort/headache during the procedure.
"Unlike medications or therapy, rTMS treats these disorders by stimulating the brain’s neurons directly. It does this using pulsed magnetic fields that are as strong as the one in an MRI scanner, but focused into an area the size of a toonie. The pulses are applied non-invasively through a magnetic coil held against the scalp. By applying repeated pulses of magnetic stimulation over time, rTMS can gradually increase or decrease the activity in the region of the brain underneath the magnetic coil. In major depression, and many other kinds of psychiatric and neurological illnesses, there are parts of the brain that are abnormally underactive or overactive. Over a series of treatment sessions, rTMS can correct these abnormalities to restore normal patterns of brain activity, and thereby treat the illness."
To find out more about rTMS check out these links and videos: