TMS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Sunday November 7, 2010

I was a volunteer in several fMRI studies when I was in college.  It's cool to get a picture of your brain, but I think most people know about, if not functional MRI, at least MRI generally as a medical diagnosis tool.

Just exactly once I was a volunteer in a study that used TMS, and I keep thinking that it is so cool and so relatively unknown that I should write something about it.

Not me, but I probably looked pretty similar.

Just as the name says, in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation they use electromagnets outside your head to stimulate brain activity, which is basically electrical, inside your skull.  It's effectively similar to putting an electrode into your brain, without the hassle of cutting your whole head open.  Maybe you've heard of the studies where they stick an electrode into somebody's brain, and he starts to see butterflies and stuff.  It's like that, but without sticking things in.

IT IS BASICALLY TOTAL BRAIN CONTROL and that is pretty cool.

When I did it I didn't see any hallucinations or anything.  They were targeting my motor cortex.  They made my left pinky move, as I recall (this was several years ago).  It doesn't feel unnatural or anything; your pinky just moves, just like if you wanted it to.

So long story short, this is pretty much the coolest thing ever.  The experience dramatically shows the extent to which your body/brain is just a machine.

I guess they use TMS for some medical treatments too. Whatev.  Read the wiki if you want.

This post was originally hosted elsewhere.