From micro to macro: unravelling the underlying mechanisms of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Alix Charlotte Thomson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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This PhD research investigated the underlying mechanisms of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation, which is used both in research to alter brain activity and in the clinic where it is a treatment option for many neuropsychiatric disorders such as major depression. However, not a lot is known about how TMS actually works. This research took an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the mechanisms of TMS. On the microscopic level, it used human neurons which were grown in the lab and stimulated with TMS to look for changes in plasticity such as neuronal firing, gene expression, and morphology. On the macroscopic level, the researcher stimulated human participants and measured indirect outcomes of plasticity, using multimodal setups such as combined TMS-EEG and TMS-EEG-fMRI. Better understanding the mechanisms of TMS is very important. If we fully understand how TMS works, we can optimize stimulation protocols, promoting increased responsiveness and better treatment outcomes in the clinic.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Sack, Alexander, Supervisor
  • de Graaf, Tom, Co-Supervisor
  • Schuhmann, Teresa, Co-Supervisor
  • Kenis, Gunter, Co-Supervisor
Award date21 May 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464232455
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Human Neurons
  • Neuroplasticity
  • EEG
  • Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs)
  • Interdisciplinary

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