December Cafe: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Towards the end of 19th century British and German neurologists showed that by electrically stimulating targeted areas in the brain, one can elicit movements in the limbs of an animal. Since then, stimulation of the brain to study its function has been a popular technique although not widely used in humans. In 1985 Dr Barker and colleagues from the University of Sheffield demonstrated for the first time the ability to painlessly stimulate discrete areas of the human motor cortex using a non-invasive brain stimulation technique called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Today TMS is one of the most used techniques to study human brain function and it has moved on to become a technique that can also alter brain function. I will be tracing the history and summarising the advances in our understanding of brain function as a result of using TMS. A practical demonstration of the technique will be shown.