The study uses transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on the patient, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in adults with treatment-resistant depression since 2008.
“The idea is that it uses a targeted magnetic field to stimulate areas of the brain that control mood and are thought to be underactive in patients with depression,” says Jeffrey Strawn, MD, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the UC College of Medicine.
“It does not involve administration of medication and is localized and non-invasive, unlike ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) where the patient is under general anesthesia that has to be administered in a hospital. In TMS therapy, patients are awake and can receive treatment in a doctor’s office, sitting in a chair with the device placed over the area of the brain that we are stimulating.” He says patients can go back to their normal activities immediately after treatment.
Strawn, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with UC Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and director of the Anxiety Disorders Research program, says that the treatments last for about 40 minutes and may feel like a mild prickling sensation that not everyone notices. He adds that the machine itself makes a clicking or tapping noise as it’s discharging the magnetic pulse. The most common side effects of TMS therapy are relatively minor—pain or discomfort around the treatment area, that normally resolves within a week.
The treatment uses a highly-focused, pulsed magnetic field, similar in type and strength to those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.
The UC study is an ongoing pediatric registration trial and is still accepting patients. For more information, contact Sara Varney at 513-558-2931.
This study is sponsored by Neuronetics, Inc. University of Cincinnati is a participating site and is reimbursed for study procedures. Strawn is the principal investigator and is not compensated by Neuronetics.
Source: University of Cincinnati