A novel, non-invasive medical device may one day provide a drug-free treatment option for people with depression.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is one of 10 universities across the country conducting a clinical research trial with a transcranial magnetic stimulation device, known as NEST, or NeoSync EEG-Synchronized TMS.
“We have recognized that there are a group of people with major depression who don’t benefit from available treatments,” said William Burke, M.D., A.O. Stake Professor of Psychiatry at UNMC. “The device we are evaluating is easy to administer, smaller and potentially more cost-effective than currently available devices.”
NEST uses low energy, synchronized transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) as opposed to the strong pulses utilized with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which was recently approved by the FDA, but is expensive, complex and has the potential to induce seizures.
With NEST, the low energy sTMS waves are synchronized to each patient’s brain waves under the belief that the brain can be “tuned.” The clinical research trial is designed to determine whether this individualized therapy restores normal brain rhythms and eliminates the depressive symptoms.
The research study will enroll 10 patients at UNMC who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and have failed to respond to exactly one medication in the current episode of illness or are medication intolerant. They must be between the ages of 22 and 65.
The NEST protocol consists of five treatments per week for six weeks. Each treatment takes approximately 30 minutes. There is no recovery period and, to date, minimal side effects have been reported with the outpatient procedure.
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