Magnets and depression
7 Healthcast: Magnets and depression
It sounds like a Tommy-gun, a rapid fire tap, tap, tap. But it doesn't bother Stephen Zatuchni one bit.
Stephen used to suffer from major depression. It was so bad he couldn't work, couldn't even get out of bed.
He says he tried almost everything without success- until he learned about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation; a non-invasive treatment that excites the brain through magnetic pulses.
"It activates neurons here that were off line and it tells them 'you guys need to get back to work'" explains Dr. John O’Reardon of the University of Pennsylvania. "They go online and they participate and do their normal activity. It looks like it's effective for patients who don't benefit from standard treatments be it talk therapy or medications."
Dr. O'Reardon says medications for depression can cause weight gain, sluggishness and cloudy thinking.
"And a very common one is to have sexual dysfunction," Dr. O’Reardon said.
Far fewer side effects are reported with TMS. Nothing more serious than headache and scalp discomfort.
Stephen had no side effects, but did notice a big change in the way he feels.
"Within a week there was some life being let into my life," Zatuchni said. "Within a month or two my depression was gone."
The treatment is not yet approved by the FDA, but doctors hope it will be by spring. Patients need anywhere from 10 to 30 sessions to start, and about 2 every month to maintain the effect.
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