Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in the Elderly

  • Ilva G. IriarteEmail author
  • Mark S. George
Geriatric Disorders (W McDonald, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Geriatric Disorders


Purpose of Review

This article aims to review select applications of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) that have significant relevance in geriatric psychiatry.

Recent Findings

Small study sizes and parameter variability limit the generalizability of many TMS studies in geriatric patients. Additionally, geriatric patients have unique characteristics that can moderate the efficacy of TMS. Nonetheless, several promising experimental applications in addition to the FDA-approved indication for major depression have emerged. Cognitive impairment, neuropathic pain, and smoking cessation are experimental applications with special significance to the elderly. Cognitive impairment has been researched the most in this population and evidence thus far suggests that TMS has potential therapeutic benefit. There is also evidence to suggest benefit from TMS for neuropathic pain and smoking cessation in working age adults. TMS is consistently reported as a safe and well-tolerated treatment modality with no adverse cognitive side effects.


TMS is a safe treatment modality that can be effective for certain applications in the elderly. Additional research that specifically includes older subjects is needed to replicate findings and to optimize treatment protocols for this population.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation Geriatric Safety Efficacy Depression Cognitive Pain Smoking cessation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Ilva G. Iriarte and Mark S. George declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMedical University of South Carolina (MUSC)CharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical CenterCharlestonUSA

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