A pioneering medical treatment using intense magnetic fields is achieving dramatic results for patients with drug-resistant chronic depression.
The transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) clinic opened at Melbourne’s Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre in 2011 and has treated about 100 patients with a long history of mental illness.
The clinic is reporting a 50% success rate, as those previously crippled by depression are able to return to work and reconnect with friends and family.
After living with depression her entire life, Jan Steele, 57, said undergoing magnetic stimulation had been like winning the lottery. This weekend she is driving to Canberra for a weekend away with her husband. Before her treatment, she would often spend Saturday and Sunday in bed.
“The enjoyment I get out of life is outstanding now, even if it’s just staying home and watching TV,” she said. Continue reading
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A new treatment for major depression – and possibly other maladies, including pain and post-traumatic stress disorder – seems as effective as the alternatives, with lower cost and fewer side effects. Psychiatrists say TMS is showing much promise in preliminary studies.
Until four years ago, psychiatrists had only two options for treating major depression: drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (ETC), formerly known as electroshock. Antidepressant drugs can take as long as four to six weeks to kick in, and they have many side effects: cardiac toxicity, urinary retention, impotence, loss of libido, blurred vision, dry mouth, somnolence, overstimulation and assorted other complications that vary from drug to drug. Surprisingly, ECT, which passes an electric current through the brain, is considered to be safer than drugs for patients with many physical illnesses, but it also has a steep downside of its own: A course of ECT can wipe out crucial memories like Ajax scouring out a sink.
Most psychiatry textbooks write that a first trial of an antidepressant is effective only 60 percent of the time. ECT is generally said to be effective 70 percent to 80 percent of the time. In 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a new device for treating major depression: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS. TMS has its roots in the research of Michael Faraday, the giant of 19th century physics. He could scarcely have dreamed that his law of induction would one day be used to treat mental illness.
Faraday’s Law is simple: It states that an oscillating magnetic coil – that is, a coil moving back and forth – generates an electric field. Now if a magnetic coil sets up an electric field inside the brain, the electric field will stimulate the neurons to release brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, of which the three most familiar are serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline (although there are dozens more under varying degrees of investigation).
Serotonin is a sedating neurotransmitter; dopamine is energizing; noradrenaline resides somewhere in between. The increased availability of one or more of these neurotransmitters is believed to lift the depression.
The instrument that was approved by the FDA is called “NeuroStar.” It is manufactured by Neuronetics for “major depression that does not respond to a trial of an antidepressant drug.” Continue reading
LONDON, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
Leading London Center presents first ‘real world’ UK data, supporting effectiveness of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the treatment of major depression
Data from the first ‘real-world’ treatment audit presented today at The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress 2013 in Edinburgh show that 60% of patients with treatment-resistant depression achieved complete remission (patients report and show no symptoms) when treated with repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS).() These data are in-line with results reported in major treatment centers in the US and Canada.
Results from the ‘real-world’ audit of the first ten UK patients to be treated with rTMS at The London Psychiatry Center, showed that six of the ten patients assessed achieved no anxiety or depression symptoms at the end of the treatment. Furthermore, one other patient responded to treatment as indicated by a 50% reduction in their depression score. All patients tolerated the treatments well with no significant side effects, with two subjects reporting an occasional mild headache, responding to paracetaomol.([) (1) (])
Dr Rafael Euba, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Center said, “These data reinforce the body of existing worldwide evidence for rTMS and its proven ability to treat depressed patients who have not responded to drug treatment and/or therapy.”
rTMS is a painless and non-invasive method of brain stimulation that relies on electromagnetic induction using an insulated coil placed over the scalp, focused on an area of the brain thought to play a role in mood regulation.() Treatment with rTMS is licensed in the UK for adults with depression who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from two prior antidepressant medications, at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode. For these patients, rTMS provides an effective and pain-free alternative to experience relief from depression, without the side-effects that may be associated with more extreme or chemical alternatives.() (,) () (, ) () (,) () (,) () Offered widely at high profile hospitals and centers in the US, including John Hopkins and Harvard’s McLean Hospital, The London Psychiatry Center is the first and only clinic to offer rTMS treatment in the UK. Continue reading
New Approach to Depression: Transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses magnetic pulses to stimulate parts of the brain connected to mood, has helped some patients with severe depression | Bamboo Innovator.
Martha Rhodes experienced her first bout of depression at 13. By her late 50s, she had taken just about every antidepressant there is, including Zoloft, Lexapro and Paxil — which did the trick for many years, but had side effects — then Effexor, Lamictal, Seroquel and Abilify.
After a suicide attempt in 2009, she tried something radically different: transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, a treatment in which magnetic pulses are used to stimulate parts of the brain believed to be involved in mood regulation. Unlike electroconvulsive or shock therapy, which is also used to treat stubborn depression, TMS does not generally produce seizures.Every day, she spent just over half an hour in a chair with a powerful magnet affixed to the front left side of her head. After four weeks, “I woke up and something was different,” said Mrs. Rhodes, who wrote a book, “3,000 Pulses Later” describing the treatment. “I felt lighter. I didn’t wake up in the morning and wish I were dead.”
For Mrs. Rhodes, 63, a former advertising executive in Danbury, Conn., TMS treatment was transformative, and she no longer needs antidepressants. But there are still many questions about just how many severely depressed patients respond to TMS, which requires daily office visits for several weeks, costs thousands of dollars and is often not covered by insurance.
For the therapy, patients sit in a doctor’s office with a large magnet pressed to the left side of their heads. The idea is that a pulsed magnetic field, similar to that used in M.R.I.’s, creates an electrical current in the surface of the brain that “resets” the patient’s mood regulatory system.
TMS is approved specifically for patients whose depression does not respond to antidepressants or who cannot tolerate the drugs’ side effects, which include weight gain and loss of sex drive. Many of these patients are desperate for alternative treatments, but it’s not certain that TMS can provide the help they need. Continue reading
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Dr. Kira Stein, M.D.
Psychiatrist Dr. Kira Stein, M.D. explains how Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is used to treat severe depression by using an MRI-strength magnetic field to stimulate dormant parts of the brain, instead of treating the condition with medication. Two former patients, Carmen and Meghan, share their success stories and Meghan even allows us to watch a session. Dr. Stein also discusses symptoms of depression, the genetic component, when you should seek professional treatment, and the time commitment and success rate of TMS. TMS had been FDA approved since 2008 and is being covered by more and more insurance companies.