Enabling deep, focused transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): Key neurotechnology patent #34

magnetic stimulation

– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 7,520,848

Today we are shar­ing a key 2009 patent, assigned to Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, that enables the stim­u­la­tion of deep­er struc­tures of the brain with­out over­whelm­ing super­fi­cial struc­tures that are not the focus of treat­ment. (As men­tioned, we are fea­tur­ing a foun­da­tion­al Per­va­sive Neu­rotech patent a day, from old­er to new­er by issue date)

U.S. Patent No. 7,520,848: Robot­ic appa­ra­tus for tar­get­ing and pro­duc­ing deep, focused tran­scra­nial mag­net­ic stimulation

  • Assignee(s): Board of Trustees of the Leland Stan­ford Junior University
  • Inventor(s): M. Bret Schnei­der, David J. Mishelevich
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: Tran­scra­nial Stimulation
  • Issue Date: April 21, 2009

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘848 patent dis­clos­es tech­niques for stim­u­lat­ing deep­er struc­tures of the brain with­out over­whelm­ing super­fi­cial struc­tures that are not the focus of treat­ment. By pro­vid­ing stim­u­la­tion (i.e., cur­rent) from more than one loca­tion, a deep­er tar­get­ed struc­ture may be stim­u­lat­ed to be depo­lar­ized with suf­fi­cient fre­quen­cy (where stim­u­la­tion is alter­nat­ed from the var­i­ous stim­u­la­tion source loca­tions) such that repo­lar­iza­tion of the tar­get­ed areas nev­er occurs but repeat­ed stim­u­la­tion of super­fi­cial struc­tures is avoid­ed. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion, with 19 illus­tra­tion sheets and nine pages of writ­ten mate­r­i­al, appears to pro­vide exten­sive sup­port for the claimed inven­tions. While there may be oth­er means of avoid­ing over­stim­u­la­tion to non-tar­get­ed areas (that occurs dur­ing depo­lar­iza­tion), the dis­closed solu­tion of pro­vid­ing a suf­fi­cient amount of cur­rent through mul­ti­ple sources or direc­tions appears to be well-pro­tect­ed with the recit­ed claims. The exten­sive spec­i­fi­ca­tion, impor­tant prob­lem-space (of over­whelm­ing non-tar­get­ed areas in stim­u­la­tion treat­ment) and recita­tion of claims broad­ly pro­tect­ing the inven­tive con­cept are among the fac­tors mak­ing the ‘848 patent a key non­in­va­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


Tech­niques for apply­ing elec­tro­mag­net­ic ener­gy to deep, tar­get­ed areas with­out over­whelm­ing oth­er areas are pro­vid­ed. One or more coils are moved rel­a­tive to a tar­get area and mag­net­ic fields are applied to the tar­get from mul­ti­ple coil loca­tions. As a result, the aggre­gate elec­tro­magetic ener­gy applied to the tar­get over time is greater than sur­round­ing areas. Addi­tion­al­ly, a mod­el for test­ing and treat­ment plan­ning is provided.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 1. A method of apply­ing elec­tro­mag­net­ic ener­gy to a tar­get, comprising:

  • mov­ing a coil rel­a­tive to the tar­get; and
  • apply­ing cur­rent to the coil from a plu­ral­i­ty of loca­tions to direct mag­net­ic fields to the tar­get and mag­net­i­cal­ly stim­u­late the tar­get, where­in the cur­rent is applied to the coil at a suf­fi­cient­ly rapid fre­quen­cy pre­vent re-polar­iza­tion of the tar­get as the coil is moved, such that the mag­net­ic stim­u­la­tion of the tar­get is high­er at the tar­get than at a region inter­posed between the tar­get and the coil.

To learn more about mar­ket data, trends and lead­ing com­pa­nies in the dig­i­tal brain health space –dig­i­tal plat­forms for brain/ cog­ni­tive assess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and enhance­ment– check out this mar­ket report. To learn more about our analy­sis of 10,000+ patent fil­ings, check out this IP & inno­va­tion neu­rotech report.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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