Depression affects one in four of us at some point of our lives, but controversy still reigns over how to best treat the debilitating condition.
Now scientists have found that a type of ‘magnetic therapy’ – which involves no brain-altering drugs or invasive procedures – could be a potent new treatment.
A team from the University of California Los Angeles were testing NeuroStar TMS Therapy, which works by beaming magnetic pulses through the skull. These trigger small electrical charges that spark brain cells to fire.
Results from tests on more than 300 patients with severe depression found 58 per cent achieved a positive response while more than a third (37 per cent) went into remission.
The study was released at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.
Research leader Dr Ian Cook, said: ’The improvements we observed show that non-drug therapy with NeuroStar TMS not only reduces the symptomatic suffering of patients, but lessens the disability of depression with important implications for these individuals’ ability to return to functioning effectively at home, in the workplace, and in the community.’
All the patients filled in a health questionnaire before and after the treatment.