Transcranial magnetic stimulation in schizophrenia.

: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive and painless way of stimulating the neural tissue (cerebral cortex, spinal roots, and cranial and peripheral nerves). The first attempts at stimulating the neural tissue date back to 1896 by d'Arsonval; however, it was successfully carried out by Barker and colleagues in Sheffield, UK, in 1985. It soon became a useful tool in neuroscience for neurophysiologists and neurologists and psychiatrists. The original single-pulse TMS, largely used as an investigative tool, was further refined and developed in the early 1990s into what is known as repetitive TMS (rTMS), having a frequency range of 1-60 Hz. The stimulation by both TMS and rTMS of various cortical regions displayed alteration of movement, mood, and behavior, leading researchers to investigate a number of psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as to explore its therapeutic potential. There is now a large amount of literature on the use of TMS/rTMS in depression; however, its use in schizophrenia, both as an investigative and certainly as a therapeutic tool is relatively recent with a limited but increasing number of publications. In this article, we will outline the principles of TMS/rTMS and critically review their use in schizophrenia both as investigative and potential therapeutic tools.