TMS is a magnetic therapy for depression that can work when medications have not. There are two types of TMS machines and the rivalry between them is like UNC and Duke in basketball. But until this month the two teams had never played against each other.

The difference is in the magnetic coil, which is unique for each machine:

Figure-8 Coil
Used since 2007, the Figure-8 and is available through several brands: Neurostar, Magstim, Magpro, and CloudTMS

Deep (H1) Coil
This is a newer device that allows the magnet to reach a little deeper into the brain. It has similar side effects to the Figure-8 coil, but is more likely to activate the right spot.

This month the first study comparing the two machines came out. It was large and well designed, and undertaken without any financial support from the device manufacturers. The result:

Deep TMS was more effective

The finding was backed by a large review of the individual TMS studies, which found that Deep TMS was better at reducing depression than the Figure-8. These kinds of reviews, however, are not as accurate as a head-to-head comparison. It’s like saying that the Tar Heels usually score more points against other teams than Duke does, but how they play against other teams doesn’t tell us what will happen when they face each other in the court.

We have been using Deep TMS with good results, and recently upgraded it to treat OCD as well as depression. Future models are expected to help with smoking cessation and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).