Concurrent TMS and MRI
Transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) and MRI imaging can be done concurrently using Jaltron's specially designed range of MRI compatible coils. TMS stimulates and inhibits cortical brain regions. Concurrent or interleaved MRI images taken during or shortly after TMS allow the researcher to follow the progress of stimulation from initiation through to the more distal areas of the brain.
However, it should be noted that setting up TMS/MRI research requires significant resources. One needs to first consider the following limitations:
Normal MRI head coils are NOT suitable. MRI scanner head coils are specifically designed to leave minimal space within them to improve resolution. This means normal sized TMS coils cannot fit. Fortunately, this is overcome through the use of the bottom half of a standard scanner head coil together with a flexible imaging coil on top. Jaltron is happy to work with you to create holders, bridges and mirrors for your scanner.
Owing to the interaction between the magnetic field of the scanner and the TMS stimulating coil, the discharge click noise is significantly higher inside the MRI tube than TMS researchers are used to. This is mitigated through the use of ear plugs and/or headphones.
In order to start research into TMS/MRI, you will need to allocate $50k if you already have a magnetic stimulator or approximately $100k if you do not already own a TMS stimulator. A reasonable set up includes two stimulating coils, one filter including direct-current blocker, and most importantly, a coil holder suited to the specific scanner and imaging coil in use. Costs will be higher still if you need very high repetition rates or close-interval pulse pairs.
MRI/TMS is not turnkey the way TMS for the treatment of depression is. On the other hand, interleaved TMS/MRI is a very powerful tool limited to very few centers that allow unique research to be carried out.