Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UF Researchers Show Magnetic Stimulation May Be A Safe Alternative To Shock Therapy

Date:
October 7, 1999
Source:
University Of Florida Health Science Center
Summary:
An experimental therapy that uses magnetic stimulation to treat severe depression could prove to be a viable option for patients who otherwise would resort to electric shock therapy, University of Florida researchers report.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.---An experimental therapy that uses magnetic stimulation to treat severe depression could prove to be a viable option for patients who otherwise would resort to electric shock therapy, University of Florida researchers report.

Related Articles


In the past decade, magnets have attracted the interest of many health consumers and have carved out a sizeable iche in the alternative medicine market as a treatment for multiple ailments - from arthritis to back pain.

Now a preliminary study, one of the first to provide scientific evidence of magnets' medical benefits, suggests magnetic stimulation may lead to a safe, revolutionary treatment for patients with clinical depression who do not respond to standard medications.

The treatment, called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), uses powerful magnetic fields that pulse in fractions of a second to induce a small electrical current in the brain, said Dr. William Triggs, an associate professor of neurology in UF's College of Medicine and the study's principal investigator.

"This treatment theoretically has the potential to supplement, if not replace, the treatment of depression with electroconvulsive therapy, otherwise known as shock therapy," said Triggs, who also is affiliated with UF's Brain Institute. "That's the most effective, rapidly acting treatment available for people who are severely depressed."

UF's findings, which appeared in July's journal Biological Psychiatry, mirror results from other recent studies conducted elsewhere. After two weeks of daily magnetic treatment, the 10 patients evaluated in the UF study showed improvement in tests that rate depression levels, and the results lasted up to three months. While other studies examined the treatment's efficacy, UF researchers wanted to focus specifically on its potential adverse effects to determine whether it may be a suitable alternative to current methods.

Electroconvulsive therapy and rTMS were both based on research that has shown sending electric current through certain brain regions helps treat people with severe depression. Triggs said researchers are not sure how or why electric current helps treat depression.

During electroconvulsive therapy, patients are placed under general anesthesia and their brains are stimulated with electrical current to produce seizures. Patients run risks from the anesthesia, and the treatment often produces cognitive problems, such as memory loss, that may last for months.

"Because there are so many side effects to stimulating the brain with electroconvulsive therapy, we wanted to find any evidence of side effects using magnetic stimulation," he said.

Originally developed in 1995, rTMS treatment involves placing an electromagnetic coil above the forehead and then sending rapid magnetic pulses through the skull, inducing electric current in brain tissues. The coil produces a weaker current than electroconvulsive therapy, and it can be focused specifically on the brain's left frontal lobe, where some researchers believe the abnormalities associated with depression originate.

Patients remain awake during the treatment and none of those treated in the UF study developed significant side effects or memory loss. Triggs said the major theoretical risk of rTMS is the possibility of inducing a seizure in some patients, which researchers have found ways to minimize.

Triggs said rTMS could someday be used as a treatment for other types of neurologic or psychiatric problems. It also could benefit severely depressed patients earlier in the course of their illness.

"Traditionally, shock therapy is reserved for patients who are suicidal or who have failed multiple medication treatments, so they may go through years of failed treatment before receiving shock therapy," he said. "If rTMS proves to be a safer treatment, patients may not have to wait as long before being treated."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida Health Science Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida Health Science Center. "UF Researchers Show Magnetic Stimulation May Be A Safe Alternative To Shock Therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991006101759.htm>.
University Of Florida Health Science Center. (1999, October 7). UF Researchers Show Magnetic Stimulation May Be A Safe Alternative To Shock Therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991006101759.htm
University Of Florida Health Science Center. "UF Researchers Show Magnetic Stimulation May Be A Safe Alternative To Shock Therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991006101759.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins