Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 14 million American adults every year.
It results in a persistent state of sadness that may interfere with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health. Symptoms may include:
- Lack of interest in or pleasure from activities typically enjoyed
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness or guilt
- Changes in sleep habits and energy levels
- Significant weight gain or weight loss
While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells. Depression is most often treated with antidepressant medications. It is believed that antidepressant medications work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters.
Although antidepressants can be effective for many patients, they do not work for everybody. More than 4 million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them. For these patients, NeuroStar® TMS Therapy offers the new way back from depression and its treatment side effects.
TMS Therapy is a short outpatient procedure which uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells within the area of the brain thought to control mood. TMS Therapy is performed at Sibley under supervision while the patient remains awake and alert.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
The treating clinician positions a treatment coil over the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved with mood regulation. Through the treatment coil, the NeuroStar® TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.
About NeuroStar TMS Therapy® System
The NeuroStar® TMS Therapy system is the first and only non-systemic and non-invasive depression treatment cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients who have not benefited from prior antidepressant treatment.* The NeuroStar® system uses highly focused, pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate function in targeted brain regions.
NeuroStar® TMS Therapy is:
Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, and the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body.
How it Works
NeuroStar® TMS Therapy is a precisely targeted treatment. The magnetic fields produced by the system affect tissue only about 2-3 centimeters into the brain directly beneath the treatment coil.
These magnetic fields pass through the hair, scalp, and skull and into the prefrontal cortex unimpeded. This method allows for precise type of stimulation, minimizing the stimulation of brain tissue not involved in mood.
Inside the brain, the dynamic nature of the pulsed magnetic field induces electrical charges to flow. The amount of electricity created in the brain is very small, but these small electric charges cause the neurons to fire or become active. The treatment goal is to stimulate (or activate) brain cells non-invasively without anesthesia or sedation. Patients remain awake and alert throughout the TMS Therapy session and able to resume normal life activities immediately following treatment.
Click here to learn more about the Inpatient Psychiatry program at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
NeuroStar TMS Therapy - In The News
Click on the articles below to read more about NeuroStar TMS Therapy:
Are There Faster, More Effective Ways to Treat Depression? (O, The Oprah Magazine)
Neuronetics NeuroStar TMS Therapy System (Popular Science)
Top 10 health innovations of 2009 (CNN)
A New Approach to Treating Intractable Cases of Depression (Wall Street Journal)
Magnetic Relief For Depression? (Washington Post)
NeuroStar Depression Therapy Cleared (U.S. News & World Report)
Targets nerve cells with magnetic pulses
Beyond antidepressants: There are other treatments (Los Angeles Times)
Medical Watch: Depression Treatment (WGN Chicago)
14 Medical Pioneers Who Aren't Holding Back
Building hearts, mapping memories, and restoring vision, these researchers aim high and don't give up (U.S. News & World Report)