Researchers say that they were able to treat Depression in patients by stimulating their brains with magnets. The study was conducted by the standard university and the results were published on Friday.The researchers found that nearly 80 percent of patients had experienced remission of their Depression after the procedure, which is called Stanford neuromodulation therapy. The technique is a modified form of transcranial magnetic stimulation and works by delivering high doses of magnetic pulses into a patient’s brain with a device containing magnetic coils placed outside of their skull.
The treatment takes just five days and is customized to each patient based on an MRI scan which shortens the typical timeline of rTMS treatment from a span of weeks into days. Nolan Williams, the study’s co-author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford said that they were interested in trying to solve psychiatric issues in an emergency setting, where we’re treating people in the course of days.
They figured out a way, based on human neuroscience principles, to compress stimulation from a six-week schedule into a single day. The work builds off of a similar smaller study the researchers published last year, which found that SNT helped relieve Depression in 90 percent of participants. That means that they no longer met the medical criteria for acute depressive episodes or suicidal ideas.
The results are encouraging. One 60-year-old patient named Tommy Van Brocklin, who wasn’t a part of the latest study, told Gizmodo how he struggled with Depression since childhood — and even had bouts of constant suicidal ideation. However, in September 2021, he underwent SNT at Stanford as part of the team’s ongoing research.