Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the Treatment of Pediatric Neurological Disorders

Laura A. Malone, Lisa R. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a form of noninvasive brain stimulation that is used for the treatment of migraine and major depression in adults and is now being evaluated for use in other disorders. The purpose of this review is to summarize the physiology underlying TMS, the safety and tolerability in pediatric patients, and the evidence for TMS efficacy in the treatment of pediatric neurologic disorders. Recent findings: Studies investigating rTMS for adolescent depression, hemiparesis due to pediatric stroke, autism, and tics/Tourette syndrome have demonstrated some therapeutic benefit. rTMS has been insufficiently studied for migraine in children despite benefits demonstrated for adult migraine. Evidence for rTMS in childhood epilepsy and ADHD remains mixed. Summary: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is emerging as a safe, tolerable, and potentially effective therapeutic strategy in a number of pediatric neurological disorders, though high-quality, randomized controlled trials are needed. Ongoing studies should focus on optimization of treatment protocols, development of biomarkers to identify children who will benefit from the technique, and identification of the most appropriate indicators of response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Neurology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Pediatric neurology
  • Repetitive TMS
  • Stroke
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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