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TMS treatment for autism spectrum disorder

According to the American Psychological Association, postpartum depression is a persistent feeling of loneliness, sadness, and anxiety after giving birth. This is a mental health problem, unlike the “baby blues,” which is transient and not considered a mood disorder. 


It is also different from postpartum psychosis. This is a more severe psychiatric problem where mothers experience hallucinations and delusions. It is much more common to experience depression after giving birth. It can be associated with postpartum hair loss and cause severe problems if left untreated.

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is an alteration in the neurological framework usually diagnosed in children. It affects how patients learn, behave, and communicate.


Instead of being a single entity, it is an umbrella term that includes several conditions. It is a spectrum because every patient experiences an individual range of symptoms.


Autism spectrum disorder is not limited to ethnicities or gender. It has a genetic involvement, and it is a lifelong disorder. However, different treatments have been found to improve their quality of life and functioning.

mental health

Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder

There is an impressive number of symptoms included in the spectrum. As noted above, every patient experiences an individual type. Thus, symptoms in one patient are not to be compared with another. They may display the following signs and symptoms:

  • Not returning or holding eye contact
  • Not feeling enjoyment or interest in activities other people enjoy
  • Not having restraint in talking about a favorite topic or doing a favorite activity
  • Slow responses to verbal cues and difficulties in following a conversation
  • Awkward body language that does not correspond with spoken language
  • Repeating phrases, words, body movements, or behaviors
  • Feeling upset when something changes in their habits and routine
  • High sensitivity to sound, light, and other sensory inputs

There is currently no consensus in the scientific community about whether or not to recommend TMS to treat autism officially. However, scientists share their enthusiasm in research papers and international conferences about the potential benefits of TMS therapy has to bring.


They mention excellent experiences in increasing indices of information processing, attention, and a reduction of irritability and repetitive behaviors. However, ASD is a very complex entity, and there are many variations among patients. This is partly why the actual benefit is so difficult to measure.

A recent systematic review of the evidence found 23 studies about TMS treatment for autism spectrum disorder. Most studies had the usual patient with repetitive behaviors and social interaction problems. They evaluated symptom improvement by measuring working memory and other cognitive variables.


After analyzing the evidence, they found many improvements, especially in repetitive behavior. Social and cognitive improvements had less robust improvements, but they were still positive changes. 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS works by sending signals to the brain through a series of electrodes. They are placed on the skull, and the magnetic stimuli change neuron connections and help reestablish brain chemistry in many areas.


Different brain areas have been evaluated in studies with successful results. And two variants of TMS treatment, known as iTBS and rTMS, have been tested with improvements held for up to 6 months.


Autism Spectrum Disorder is a very complex entity. Evaluation and treatment should be individualized depending on the signs and symptoms. Thus, creating a protocol treatment with transcranial magnetic stimulation isn’t easy. Still, the evidence so far shows a positive response to the treatment. Patients tend to reduce their stereotyped and repetitive behaviors. They may also offer some improvements in their social and cognitive skills. What’s more, TMS treatment does not have worrying side effects. It is a safe alternative and has been shown helpful in various mental health conditions.