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FDA Clears Magnets for Depression

 - Oct 11, 2008
References: neuronetics & neuronetics
Depression and drugs.  The two seem to always be mentioned side by side because drugs have been the primary means of treating depression.  Not anymore!

The United States Food and Drug Administration has cleared the Neuronetics NeuroStar TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Therapy system for the treatment of depression.  This device is currently cleared for use on those people who do not respond to drug therapy. 

The results of the studies using this technology have been nothing short of amazing. According to Phil Janicak, MD, a Professor of Psychiatry at Rush University-Chicago and a Principal Investigator in the NeuroStar TMS Therapy clinical trials: "In the randomized controlled trial conducted for FDA clearance, NeuroStar TMS Therapy demonstrated statistically and clinically significant treatment effects...It’s particularly noteworthy that these outcomes were achieved without systemic side effects, such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction."

In addition, this procedure is non-invasive both to the patient and to the patient’s day to day schedule.  According to Neuronetics: "TMS Therapy is a non-systemic (does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body) and non-invasive (does not involve surgery) form of neuromodulation which stimulates nerve cells in an area of the brain that is linked to depression, by delivering highly focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses. Patients being treated by NeuroStar TMS Therapy do not require anesthesia or sedation and remain awake and alert. It is a 40-minute outpatient procedure that is prescribed by a psychiatrist and performed in a psychiatrist’s office. The treatment is typically administered daily for 4-6 weeks."

A video showing how this works is available here.