Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation May Help Fight Depression
People suffering from depression who dont respond to traditional forms of treatment, may have another option: transcranial magnetic stimulation. The technique, which uses magnetic currents to activate certain areas of the brain, was recently tested in a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston gave daily treatments to 92 people diagnosed with depression but not taking medication. Ninety-eight other people with depression were given sham treatments that mimicked the magnetic stimulation. After three weeks of treatment, 14 percent of the transcranial magnetic stimulation group went into remission. Only 5 percent of the sham group got better.
One of the most important aspects of the study was ensuring that no one who knew the randomization status of the patient ever came in contact with the patient or interacted with the data, the authors write. We developed a new active sham transcranial magnetic stimulation system that simulated the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation somatosensory experience and effectively masked the patients, the raters and, to a large extent, the treaters.
While remission from the treatment was far from a sure thing, it does present doctors with another option for helping patients who dont respond to or who cant tolerate medication. The therapy, say the researchers, has few adverse effects.
Source: American Medical Association