Magnetic Stimulation Scores Modest Success As Antidepressant

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“Magnetic Stimulation Scores Modest Success as Antidepressant”
Mark George May 3, 2010 Before this particular research was studied, there were many researches on magnetic stimulation treatments for depression. Starting in 1990, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adapted a technology that developed for science studies to experimentally probe the brain. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was one result of the experiments. ECT is an invasive process designed to treat rather severe depression. It requires a magnetic current sufficient to penetrate the skill’s resistance to electricity. In search of a less invasive method, medics researched a process called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Medics hypothesize that depressed patients who do not respond to or tolerate antidepressant medications might benefit from rTMS, a treatment that stimulates the brain with a pulsing electromagnet, resulting with only few known side effects. Therefore, the essential research question for this particular research was “Does rTMS treat depression?” The purpose of the research was to find clues to suggest ways to improve rTMS’s effectiveness and to further develop a potential new class of stimulation treatments for other brain disorders. Also, if the research showed that rTMS actually does treat depression, it would really help the health industry because it is less invasive and has fewer side effects than ECT. To conduct this experiment, a sample of 190 patients, who had formerly failed to respond to other antidepressant medications, was tested. For three weeks or more, the patients received randomized, controlled magnetic stimulations on weekdays. The rTMS magnet aimed at their brain’s left prefrontal cortex. To see the effects of the rTMS, there was a control group too that only received the same head-tapping sensation. To create the tapping, the electrodes touching the scalp delivered the tapping impression, but a metal insert below the magnet blocked the magnetic field from entering the brain. Then, patients who responded to the active treatments received up to three more weeks of controlled rTMS until they experienced remission or stopped presenting a meaningful response, while patients who failed to improve during the blinded phase entered a course of open-label rTMS. Throughout the process, data was organized and collected.
The study found that 13 of 92 patients (14%) who received the active treatment attained remission, while only 5 of 98 (5%) who received the simulation treatment attained remission. Results also showed that patients who received active rTMS were significantly more likely to acquire remission, especially if they had been moderately, rather than severely, treatment resistant. Then, in the open-label phase of the study, the remission rate was nearly 30%. This concludes that for treatment resistant-patients, rTMS is at least as good as other current medications or treatments, apart from ECT. Visually, this research was presented nicely. There was a chart showing the results. There was also a picture showing the instruments used to perform the treatment. Furthermore, there was even an