Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was introduced as a neurophysiological technique in 1985 when Anthony Barker and his team developed a compact machine that permitted non-invasive stimulation of the cerebral cortex (Barker 1985). Since its introduction, TMS has been used to evaluate the motor system, to study the function of several cerebral regions, and for the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric illnesses. In addition, it has been suggested that TMS might have therapeutic potential.
Some controlled studies have evaluated the effects of repetitive TMS (rTMS) in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Greenberg (Greenberg 1997) observed that a single session of right prefrontal cortex stimulation produced a significant decrease in compulsive urges in OCD patients lasting over eight hours. Other studies have reported transitory improvements in mood but there are no observations for changes in anxiety or obsessions.