focussed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation - f...

focussed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – focal pattern – Butterfly Coil – Figure 8 Coil. made with Blender. Paint. Gimp. Optipng. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Current treatment options for depression, including drugs and brain stimulation procedures such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are effective but some time is needed before their effect kicks in. US researchers have now discovered that low field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) is just as effective and improves symptoms immediately.

Scientists from Harvard University (Boston) and Weill Cornell Medical College (New York) reported in “Biological Psychiatry” that they discovered the properties accidentally while carrying out an imaging study in healthy volunteers. Further analyses led the physicians to the parameters that seemed to cause the antidepressant effects.

“LFMS is unlike any current treatment. It uses magnetic fields that are a fraction of the strength but at higher frequency than the electromagnetic fields used in TMS and ECT,” explained lead author Michael Rohan from Harvard University.

In order to apply the procedure, the researchers developed a portable device, which was tested in a double-blind trial on 63 subjects with depression or bipolar disorders. When the patients received real LFMS, an immediate and substantial improvement in mood was observed compared to the control group. There were no side effects.

Thus, the authors believe that future use of low field magnetic stimulation in the treatment of depression is conceivable. But extensive research is still necessary beforehand, they emphasised

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