Direct controlled, non-invasive and painless activation of the human brain has been achieved with the introduction of the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technique. Initial studies in the 1980’s and 90’s traditionally used single or paired-pulse stimuli to modulate the excitability of the motor cortex.
However, the introduction of stimulators capable of delivering repetitive stimuli allowed researchers to investigate the underlying mechanisms of sensory, motor and cognitive functions in normal and disordered brains, as well as the neuroplastic changes during recovery of function after brain lesions. More recent studies also take into account the extent to which physiological mechanisms could be modulated within the behavioural context. This presentation summarises the TMS techniques used in studying the brain, in particular the application of repetitive stimulation protocols.