TMS battles depression

Health Watch

It’s estimated more than 16 million Americans suffer from depression, but for half of the medications don’t work. Now a treatment sending magnetic pulses to the brain is helping some patients battle back from depression.

Kristi Miller has struggled with anxiety and depression since she was 13.

“I would have this intense feeling in my chest like it was so tight and I couldn’t breathe,” said Miller.

The busy teacher has tried more than 30 anti-depressant medications but over time they would stop working.

“Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Effexor,” said Miller.

Doctor Sandeep Vaishnavi says newer options like deep TMS or Transcranial magnetic stimulation can be very effective.

Sandeep Vaishnavi, MD, Ph.D., Neuropsychiatrist & Medical Director the brain stimulation service at Mindpath Care Centers at Carolina Partners said, “What this technology is doing is that it’s stimulating the brain using these magnetic pulses.”

He says that causes the networks in the brain to change over time.

“We want to make that cognitive control network, the pre-frontal cortex, we want it to be more efficient so it can modulate the emotional brain,” said Vaishnavi.

The patient is fitted with brainsway’s deep TMS helmet that sends magnetic pulses to the brain.

The patient undergoes a 20 minute session where they feel a light tapping on the side of their head.

Results have been dramatic: A recent study found that only eleven percent went into remission with medication alone.

“But with TMS and medications it was 60%,” said Vaishnavi.

Kristi says she felt a difference after the very first session.

“It was like all the colors in the sky were just brighter,” said Miller.

Providing a brighter future in the battle against depression.

Doctors say there’s a very small risk of seizures. Deep TMS has also been FDA approved to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. We’re told most insurance companies cover it.

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