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Treating Depression With Magnetic Therapy

If your depression has not been helped by previous treatments, it might be worthwhile to consider transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a non- invasive therapy that uses briefly pulsed, powerful magnetic fields to induce focused electrical currents in the brain, causing brain cells to fire.

Washington University psychiatrist Pilar Cristancho, MD, explains, “TMS is applied over a brain area called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This area is located close to the hairline in the forehead, and thought to be underactive in patients with depression.

Unlike electroconvulsive therapy, TMS does not require anesthesia. Most patients find this treatment very tolerable, and adverse side effects are generally mild. Those treated with TMS are able to resume their daily activities such as working or driving immediately following the treatment.”

Treatments are given consecutively to produce a therapeutic effect. A TMS treatment course is about 20-30 treatments administered over four to six weeks by a certified staff member, under supervision of a physician. The sessions are not painful and last about 40 minutes each. The patient is awake, resting comfortably in a reclining chair.

When the TMS coil is placed on the scalp, it creates a magnetic field that passes through the skull and into the brain. This generates an electrical impulse able to induce an effect on the area underneath the coil and into the deeper structures thought to be involved in the regulation of mood.

Dr. Cristancho adds, “The use of TMS for depression has been supported by ample research, including clinical trials demonstrating efficacy of TMS in patients with depression. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a TMS device for the treatment of major depression under specific clinical circumstances.”

Please call 314-286-1700 for more information about TMS, or to schedule a consultation with a Dr. Cristancho for a full evaluation and to discuss the potential benefits and risks of TMS therapy.

Patients are seen at:
Barnes-Jewish West Pavilion
One Barnes-Jewish Hospital Plaza, 15th floor
St. Louis, MO  63110
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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine