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The applications of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have broadened significantly in the past few years and the number of publications involving this technique have increased dramatically. This supplement is very well timed, therefore, and the editors are all very well known in this field. It is a book of about 360 pages and is published as a supplement to the journal Clinical Neurophysiology.
It is divided into five sections, covering methodology, physiology, clinical neurophysiology, psychiatry and cognition. Most of the authors have written extensively on TMS, so the chapters represent a fairly good distillation of relevant details into brief texts, each accompanied by a set of references, which will lead new readers to pursue their own special interests and allow those who have been involved in TMS for some years to catch up with recent developments. The latter applies in particular to the community of neurophysiologists who have been using TMS in clinical and non-clinical studies of the motor system, who are now interested to see the technique being applied outside this system.
The various sections include modelling the stimulating field, its haemodynamic effect and role in mapping, the acquisition of simultaneous MRI, and the relation between animal and human studies. The paired pulse and rapid rate paradigms are discussed, with clinical, physiological, and pharmacological applications and in the clinical section there is a series of chapters describing several applications. This section in particular shows how diverse the efforts have been to apply TMS in different ways, but reinforces the point that many of the most prominent advances have been in non-clinical applications. The exception to this is in psychiatry, where of course TMS has become of particular interest for the controversial treatment of selected patients with depression. This and other potential psychiatric applications are described, moving the reader to the final section on TMS and cognition, including its use in the study of language.
I think that the editors have pitched the standard of this book very well, so that it will be of interest to those who have been involved in this field for many years and to all newcomers. There are one or two chapters, unfortunately, which represent work of a slightly lightweight or pilot nature, and there is no group editorial on controversial issues such as the treatment of depression. There will be some hot competitors for this book on the market in the very near future, but I think that its tidy and concise presentation will make this particular volume an essential brief reference book for most departments using TMS.