T.M.S is anyone familiar with this procedure for depression?

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  • TMS is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in which a metal coil is placed on the scalp to generate a magnetic field, which in turn produces an electric current that induces depolarization in the neurons. Basically, normally the membrane of a neuron or cell is polarized or has a negative charge, so depolarizing is moving the charge to neutral.

    This involves daily treatments that are administered over several days. Available studies do show that this kind of repetitive stimulation on the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain, is of great help in treating “Unipolar Depressions” that do not respond to drug therapy. I hope this short explanation helps.

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    • Vayel Palanjian I used to be an EEG technician, and worked briefly for a doctor who wanted me to apply this. He also ordered an EEG for a patient with a gall bladder problem. When  I questioned this, I was told, "You do not ask questions. You do your job."

      I believe I have heard that story before--at a place called Nuremburg. I left.

      Concerning transcranial electrical stimulation, one of the doctors who trained me remarked, "Snake oil salesmen have been promoting that for over a hundred years. Nothing has ever come of it."

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    • Thomas Lee Boles 

      Hi Thomas,  in reference to EEG, I am amazed that a professional doctor would make a statement like that to another medical team member. But I liked your subsequent reaction, it was the right thing to do. As far as TMS goes, there are multiple studies that show transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) showing clinically relevant benefits to patients who have failed with antidepressant therapy.

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  • Thank you so much for your explanation! I have been wondering about this, too, but have been wary, since I have had so many side effects from my 2 rounds of ECT. Do you know if the magnetic treatment you speak of has any side effects?

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  • Thank you for the education, Vayel!!!

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    • cherylinaschoon  

      You are welcome! TMS does not require anesthesia and is generally well tolerated as compared to drugs or ECT. The most common side effect is headache post therapy. A rare but possible side effect is seizures, as such, it is not recommended for people with a history of epilepsy or past head injury. It is best to consult your own physician or neurologist for a more complete list of side effects.

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    • Vayel Palanjian Vayel Palanjian 

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  • Maybe you have more recent data; my experience was thirty years ago. Perhaps there is some distinction between magnetic and electrical stimulation; the gadget I was required to use was electrical. According to James Clerk Maxwell, one partakes of the other. Anyway, I appreciate your agreement that I was entitled to assurance that I was doing right by the patient. 

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