Novel Brain Stimulation Technique Shows Promise in Patients with Hard-to-Treat Depression
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Two-thirds of patients positively responded to TMS treatment, and nearly half showed acute remission
"The findings are significant, particularly for patients who have tried other treatments and not seen desired results," said
She added, "Our TMS protocol reduced patient symptoms considerably more than other approaches and with virtually no side effects." Only 30-50% of patients experience full recovery or remission when treated with psychotherapy or medication. Even when medications do work, they can sometimes cause side effects ranging from weight gain to sexual dysfunction, and in some cases, can actually make depression symptoms worse.
Patients who try several types of therapy unsuccessfully are often considered treatment-resistant, especially those who suffer from major depressive disorder, a problem so pervasive that it's considered the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
"This is a global epidemic," said
During the trial, more than three dozen patients underwent TMS to a region in the front left portion of the brain. It's a technique that's already approved by the FDA for the treatment of major depressive disorder; however, it has only been shown to offer a meaningful reduction in depression symptoms in about 29% of patients.
"We took that approach a step further," said
He added, "This type of stimulation to the right side has been associated with improvements in symptoms related to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A couple of recent studies have demonstrated a reduction in depressive symptoms in older adults; however, this is the first study to show the effectiveness of the right-side stimulation on reduction of depressive symptoms in younger adults."
The fact that two out of three patients showed a response to this approach and nearly half had acute remission is made more encouraging by the fact that most patients in this study suffered from other conditions as well, such as anxiety and PTSD.
"There is much more research needed in those areas, but given our initial success, we're optimistic about the potential, particularly given their demographics," said
The study consisted of patients whose mean age was 42.5 years, more than 20 years younger than recent similar studies that used TMS to evaluate the impact on patients with so-called late-life depression.
Developing new therapies for younger patients could help them find effective treatments much earlier in life, significantly reduce lost productivity and the cost of failed therapies, and could potentially become an option for younger veterans, in particular, millions of whom struggle to find effective therapies to treat PTSD.
Before the study began, each patient charted their symptoms using a standard scale, with zero being no symptoms and 27 representing the most severe. At the outset, patients had a mean score of 18.18. During the course of the trial, symptoms improved to a mean score of 10.29, and by the end of the study, they had been cut by more than half at just over 8, with many achieving acute remission.
"We are making huge strides in understanding how TMS works, but we're still just scratching the surface," said
About Family Care Center
Family Care Center is one of the nation's leading providers of mental health services and is dedicated to making a positive impact on the well-being of local communities. Their top-rated, multi-specialty clinicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based care that yields lasting positive results for patients of all ages. In addition to individual, couples and family therapy, as well as psychiatric services, Family Care Center leads in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), an innovative treatment for depression and more. Family Care Center is one of the fastest-growing providers of mental health in
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SOURCE Family Care Center
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