Depression treatment with a magnetic device

Posted by Puteri | 10/20/2008 08:54:00 PM | 0 comments »

WASHINGTON – The government has approved the first noninvasive brain stimulator to treat depression — a device that beams magnetic pulses through the skull. If it sounds like science-fiction, well, those woodpecker-like pulses trigger small electrical charges that spark brain cells to fire. Yet it doesn't cause the risks of surgically implanted electrodes or the treatment of last resort, shock therapy.

Called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS, this gentler approach isn't for everyone. The Food and Drug Administration approved Neuronetics Inc.'s NeuroStar therapy specifically for patients who had no relief from their first antidepressant, offering them a different option than trying pill after pill.


For depression, psychiatrists aim the magnet at the left front of the head, the prefrontal cortex. Since everyone's brain is different, they first zap the top of the head to find a patient's motor-control region, and then carefully move 5 centimeters forward. Then, the NeuroStar beams about 3,000 pulses a minute during a 40-minute treatment, done about five times a week for up to six weeks.

The theory: Stimulating brain cells in the prefrontal cortex triggers a chain reaction that also stimulates deeper brain regions involved with mood.

Full story here.

Can this treatment be called a new-fangled treatment or is it an updated approach to an old treatment involving magnets?

There are many people who believe in the power of the magnet. I myself have even tried magnetic treatment for arthritic pain. I even thought about buying a pillow with magnets on it also with the belief that it would help me get a restful sleep.

Anyway, if it were me who had depression, I'd be willing to try anything especially if the treatment was non-invasive.