Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘TMS’

The St. Petersburg Times (3/3, Stein, http://tinyurl.com/TMS-depression) reports that for patients who don’t respond to drugs and counseling, TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) offers an alternative to electric shock therapy, still used to treat depression despite its reputation in popular culture as a barbaric treatment.  Many physicians consider ECT the gold standard treatment for severe depression that doesn’t respond to other remedies.  It is considered safe, but side effects can include short-term memory loss.  TMS involves using an electromagnetic coil to beam pulsations through the skull to stimulate a part of the brain thought to be involved in depression.  By contrast, the primary discomfort associated with TMS is a staccato tapping noise.  Another consideration is cost, which can reach $10,000 and isn’t routinely covered by insurance since it is relatively new and its availability limited. At USF, the treatment costs about $350 per session, and patients need about 10 to 20 procedures.  Clinical trials on TMS have yielded mixed results, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received some criticism when it approved the therapy for use in treatment-resistant depression over a year ago.  At least some questions may be settled in May, when the results of a five-year study sponsored by the NIH will be published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Read Full Post »

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (12/23, Dahlberg) reports that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately “14 million Americans in a given year are affected by some form of depression.” For years, “researchers have known…that powerful, pulsed magnets can create electrical fields in the brain, speeding up or slowing down neuronal activity depending on where and how they are aimed. The effect has been studied as a potential treatment for stroke, brain injuries, chronic pain, migraines, and a wide range of psychiatric disorders.” In October, the Food and Drug Administration approved transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for patients with depression “who haven’t been helped by the first medication they are prescribed.” TMS, “unlike medications…doesn’t cause sleepiness, weight gain, or other systemic side effects,” and, unlike electroconvulsive therapy, it “doesn’t cause confusion or memory loss.” Still, TMS “only works for some people. In different studies, it has helped as few as 20 percent to more than 60 percent of those who try it.”

Read Full Post »

On the front page of its Health section, the Washington Post (11/11, HE1, Vedantam) reports on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a depression treatment that the Food and Drug Administration approved as a treatment for major depression in October. “Many scientists believe that the technique is a harbinger of things to come. Already, researchers are probing its effects on schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder, or manic depression.” The technique “uses the principle of electromagnetism to induce small electric currents inside the brain.” The Post notes that while “no one really knows what is specifically happening in the brain to cause depression, [likewise] no one really knows why TMS, psychotherapy, and other treatments work.” In clinical trials, “patients who had unsuccessfully tried one antidepressant (as opposed to a large number of prior treatments) seemed most likely to respond to TMS.” Still, many insurance companies are “unlikely to cover transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy right away, [and] a course of TMS treatment might run a patient $6,000 to $8,000.”

Read Full Post »