Theta burst stimulation of human cortex
It has proved possible in experimental animals to manipulate synaptic efficiency using direct electrical stimulation of central nervous pathways. The introduction of transcranial methods of non-invasively stimulating the human brain raised hopes that similar effects could be produced in humans, with the potential for eventual therapeutic application in disease states. However, largely due to safety limitations, human subjects often require lengthy conditioning with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and even then effects are often weak, variable and not beneficial in the therapeutic setting. In view of the difficulties, I have explored novel methods of conditioning the brain in conscious humans using rTMS which can swiftly produce powerful and controllable long-term changes in the excitability of cortical circuits.