Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

Targeting and Treating Depression Centers of the Brain

Since gaining FDA approval in 2008 for the treatment of depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS therapy) has been praised for its ability to relieve depressive symptoms without the side effects associated with antidepressants. At Dignity Brain Health in Boston, as a leading provider of TMS therapy, we see the positive difference TMS therapy can make even for patients who have tried dozens of medications in their life.

But how does TMS therapy work? By targeting certain areas of the brain.The brain is made of up several different parts — each one has its own function. These different regions communicate with each other to form pathways or networks, so if one part of the brain isn’t functioning optimally, it can affect other regions of the brain. Fortunately, scientists have identified specific regions of the brain known to have a connection with depression.

What Parts of the Brain Are Associated with Depression?

Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex

Where is it located? The prefrontal cortex lies in the frontal lobe of the cerebrum. The cortex is the surface of the brain that looks folded. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex refers to a part of the cortex located on the upper and side of the frontal lobe.

What does it do? The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is associated with:

  • Negative emotional judgment (left side)

  • Working memory and attention in order to perform executive functions

  • Attentional modulation (regulation of attention)

Subgenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex

Where is it located? The cingulate cortex is a c-shaped region located in the inner part of the brain, in the middle of the brain’s two hemispheres (left and right). The subgenual anterior cingulate cortex is the part of the cingulate cortex closest to the front of the brain, underneath the frontal lobe.  

What does it do? The subgenual anterior cingulate cortex is associated with:

  • Regulation of emotional expression

  • Emotional experience

  • Learning

  • Motivation and reward

  • Stress

  • Fear

TMS Therapy Targets Specific Parts of the Brain to Effectively Relieve Symptoms of Depression

The technology used in TMS therapy allows doctors to target the exact area of the brain involved in depression. During a TMS therapy treatment session, a specially designed magnetic coil is placed on the patient’s scalp in a specific location. Throughout the session, this coil emits a magnetic field, that then creates an electric response and stimulates the underactive parts of the brain. Stimulation of cells in a targeted region of the brain increases the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow brain cells to communicate with one another), improving communication with other parts of the brain and therefore improving the function of the overall pathway implicated in depression.

Dignity Brain Health Is Here to Help

If you have any questions about depression, your symptoms, or any potential treatments you’ve heard of, know that you can contact our caring and attentive staff at Dignity Brain Health in Boston. We’re here to answer questions, help with treatment, and most importantly, serve as a support system for your depression treatment.