Understanding TMS: Studies and Findings

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (also known as TMS) is an FDA-approved treatment for major depressive disorder. It has been studied in a variety of different populations, but has been shown to be particularly effective in treating those who are suffering from treatment-resistant depression.

At Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, we work diligently to stay up-to-date with the latest in TMS research and developments, but also in educating and informing the public on the science behind TMS. In this week’s blog post we will briefly describe a few of the most influential TMS studies and their impact on the field of depression treatment.

O’Reardon and the FDA

J.P. O’Reardon’s study, which led to the FDA’s approval of TMS for the treatment of depression, was a large, randomized controlled trial with 301 medication-free patients involving 23 sites.  The patients had major depression and were treated with TMS for 6 weeks. At the end of the 6-week period, the active TMS group was more than twice as likely to achieve remission compared with sham. (1)

George and the National Institutes of Health

Mark George’s TMS study looking at TMS efficacy differed from previous studies because it was not an industry-sponsored; the National Institutes of Health funded it. It also intentionally recruited a more severely ill and more treatment-resistant population.  The odds of attaining remission were 4.2 times greater with active TMS over sham. (2)

Dunner and Antidepressants

David Dunner’s 2014 observational study, patients with major depression who were antidepressant-resistant received TMS treatment in 42 clinical practices.  Patients were then followed for 52 weeks as they continued antidepressant medications. Among patients who met response or remission criteria, 62.5% continued to show improvement. (3)

Contact Us

If you have any questions about TMS in NYC, insurance coverage, or anything mentioned here, please feel free to contact us. We enjoy hearing from the community and discussing how transcranial magnetic stimulation might help someone overcome their symptoms of depression.


  1. O’Reardon, JP MD, et al.  “Efficacy and Safety of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the Acute Treatment of Major Depression: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial” BIOL PSYCHIATRY 2007;62:1208-1216
  2. George, Mark MD2010, et al.  “Daily Left Prefrontal Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder” ARCH GEN PSYCHIATRY 2010;67:507-516
  3. Dunner DL, Aaronson ST, Sackeim HA, et al. A multisite, naturalistic, observational study of transcranial magnetic stimulation for patients with pharmacoresistant major depressive disorder: Durability of benefit over a 1-year follow-up period. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014;75(12):1394-401.
Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Ready to try TMS?

If you're in the New York City area, contact us online to check your insurance coverage and schedule your first appointment.

Contact Us Online!

Recent Posts

For people taking an antidepressant, it can feel frustrating when they don’t see results right away. But finding the right depression treatment can take time and often requires collaboration with your doctor. If you’re antidepressant isn’t working, don’t give up. You may need to try a differ...

Read More

Young adulthood is a time when we go through many exciting life transitions: gaining more independence, going to college, and starting a new job. But this time in a person’s life can also be filled with many trials and difficult times, such as rapid transitions (e.g. leaving home to go…...

Read More

Deep TMS, also referred to as dTMS, is a non-medication depression and OCD treatment that uses magnetic waves to help stimulate parts of the brain associated with mood regulation. You might be a candidate for dTMS if you fall into one of the following categories: You Have Been Diagnosed with…...

Read More