Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

A New Treatment For Major Depression

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a new treatment for Major Depression cleared for use by the FDA in October 2008.  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a technological breakthrough in the treatment of Major Depression that utilizes pulses of magnetic energy, similar in strength to those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, to stimulate areas of the brain known to control mood. TMS therapy is an alternative treatment for depression without medication.TMS has been researched for decades and is now clinically available with the Neurostar TMS Therapy System.  Given in an office setting without anesthesia, treatments last about 40 minutes and are typically given 5 days a week for four to six weeks.  Magnetic pulses, generated by a treatment coil, are used to stimulate specific mood centers of the brain.

TMS is the only non-invasive form of magnetic brain stimulation therapy available today. Brain stimulation as a treatment for depression is hardly new, however. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), sometimes referred to as shock therapy, is an effective form of brain stimulation that has been used for decades and is still in use today. It is usually done in an inpatient hospital setting and requires general anesthesia. ECT uses an electrical current to trigger a generalized seizure in the brain, this causes firing of neurons throughout the brain but has significant side effects, most commonly memory loss.

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