Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has arrived at UCM, to CIS faculty Ramesh Balasubramaniam’s Sensorimotor Neuroscience Laboratory. TMS is a noninvasive technology that uses electromagnetic induction to induce temporary changes in brain function. The system can stimulate or inhibit neurons in the cortex for a brief period of time, and is used to study causal relationships between brain and behavior, map cortical functions and measure the excitability of cortical regions. The new TMS system will be used to learn about the neural underpinnings of rhythm/beat perception, joint action, the Lombard effect in speech, and various other aspects of motor production. Click here to see a photo gallery.

Dr. Balasubramaniam held a gentle introduction to TMS on September 17th. This session focused on the skills and safety methods necessary for proper use of his TMS equipment. From single burst methods to continuous Theta-burst stimulation (cTBS), attendees learned about how TMS causes neural depolarization or hyperpolarization in the brain by inducing a weak electric current using a magnetic field, as well as practical tips including how to effectively localize a brain area for research purposes. This session was followed later in the week by a hands-on training with Henry Galperin of Magstim and Brandeis University (see photos). Further training will be provided in the weeks to come on the accompanying neuronavigation system and TMS compatible electroencephalography (EEG).

Recruitment of research participants will begin in the next few months and will be posted on the SONA Research Participation System website.

For more information about the Magstim Rapid2 system and double coil, see http://www.magstim.com

For an introduction to TMS, see:

Hallett, M. (2007). Transcranial magnetic stimulation: a primer. Neuron, 55(2), 187-199. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.06.026

Thanks to Jessica Ross and Lilly Rigoli for supplying details

Dr. Balasubramaniam zapping Ph.D. student Butovens Médé

Dr. Balasubramaniam zapping Ph.D. student Butovens Médé