The Future of Depression Treatment: Innovations in TMS

The Future of Depression Treatment: Innovations in TMS

What is the current best treatment for depression?


The medical community worldwide has prioritized seeking swift and effective treatments for mood disorders. In this context, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has surfaced as a revolutionary depression treatment that has significantly improved the lives of many individuals suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), particularly those resistant to conventional therapies such as medication.


Suppose you are grappling with a severe depressive disorder and have exhausted other traditional methods without success. In that case, you might ask: “What is the current best treatment for depression?” At Integrative Healthcare Center, we specialize in assisting individuals battling depression by providing the most advanced medical treatment for depression: TMS.


In this blog, we will delve into the future of depression treatment, focusing on the most groundbreaking innovations in TMS therapy.


Defining TMS as a Depression Treatment


Major depressive disorder is an extensive and debilitating condition. Many patients do not find relief with conventional treatments like medication and psychotherapy. In response to this widespread issue, scientists have combined technology and medicine to develop transcranial magnetic stimulation as a viable depression treatment option.


This depression treatment, also known as Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), is a method that utilizes repetitive magnetic pulses. During an rTMS session, a physician strategically places an electromagnetic coil over the patient’s scalp. This coil emits magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the brain region associated with mood and depression. The procedure is painless, non-invasive, and usually incurs mild side effects such as temporary headaches or dizziness. Moreover, it has FDA approval for treating various mood disorders, particularly MDD.


Research published by the National Library of Medicine indicates that TMS technology has seen significant advancements, including signal generators, coils, positioning systems, modeling, optimization, and therapy planning software. As this technology continues to evolve, variants of TMS have emerged, such as Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS), Intermittent Theta-Burst Stimulation (iTBS), and Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (nTMS).


Improving Precision with Deep TMS


Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) is a cutting-edge development in non-invasive brain stimulation. Unlike the conventional handheld unit with a figure-eight coil, dTMS features an H-shaped coil inside the helmet. This innovative adaptation of rTMS has opened up new possibilities for the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders.


This variant of TMS can reach more profound and more widespread areas within the brain tissue than its predecessor, yielding superior results. As an innovative depression treatment, deep TMS provides non-surgical stimulation of deep brain regions.


Research published by the National Library of Medicine and World Psychiatry assessed the efficacy and safety of deep TMS for treating major depressive disorder in patients who showed no response to antidepressants. The study found that dTMS significantly improved the Hamilton Depression Scale score (HDRS-21), with a 6.39-point improvement compared to the 3.28-point improvement in the control group.


Furthermore, the response and remission rates were noticeably higher in the dTMS group. These differences between active and sham treatments remained consistent throughout the 12-week maintenance phase.


In summary, deep TMS has shown to be an innovative, effective, and safe depression treatment. Its effects have demonstrated stability throughout three months of maintenance treatment.


Enhancing Depression Treatment with Accelerated TMS and iTBS 


Promptly treating mood disorders poses a challenge, and conventional methods may require weeks before showing results. In response, accelerated transcranial magnetic stimulation has surfaced as a potential solution.


Accelerated TMS is an innovative application of transcranial magnetic stimulation to reduce treatment duration and improve response time. This approach provides a quicker decrease in depressive symptoms compared to traditional treatments. It entails conducting multiple TMS sessions daily while maintaining or enhancing treatment efficacy. A recent study published in Neuropsychopharmacology indicates that accelerated TMS yields results comparable to FDA-approved protocols for treating MDD in terms of effectiveness and safety. However, research into this form of TMS is still in its early stages.


A recently FDA-approved protocol, the Stanford Neuromodulation Therapy (SNT) Protocol, formerly Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT), represents a specific type of accelerated TMS. It involves administering ten daily sessions over five days of Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation (iTBS). iTBS is a unique form of stimulation that employs specific magnetic stimulation patterns to modulate brain activity. Its primary objective is to offer a faster and more efficient alternative for depression treatment, addressing the slow response to treatment observed with other therapeutic modalities. The FDA approval for this protocol suggests its safety and effectiveness in clinical studies.


Despite the promising nature of accelerated TMS and SNT protocol, it’s important to note that research in this field is still in its early stages. More comprehensive clinical studies are essential to understand its long-term efficacy and potential side effects fully.


Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (nTMS) 


Basic nTMS employs 3D spatial cameras to track patients’ head movements. The software accommodates any indication of the patient’s head or the coil that could potentially diverge the magnetic fields away from the target area, thus assisting treatment technicians in maintaining superior quality control. However, to date, no studies indicate that nTMS provides exceptional results in depression treatment.


The more advanced form of nTMS utilizes 3D cameras but incorporates additional technology to guide the magnetic field toward a more precise treatment location. This method uses a single Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of an individual’s brain to identify the predicted anatomical treatment area most strongly associated with depression. This MRI can use Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to map connected electrical circuits and accurately pinpoint the correct treatment location.


Despite its low prevalence due to cost and discomfort, nTMS is gradually gaining acceptance as technology becomes more accessible and precise. Further research and time will determine how navigated TMS compares with other TMS approaches for depression treatment.


Innovative FDA-Approved Treatments at Integrative Healthcare Center


Our care center, located in Nashua, New Hampshire, offers Deep TMS as a treatment for severe depression. This treatment option has proven particularly effective for those not responding well to other therapies. Endorsed by the FDA for its safety and efficacy, this method has enabled nearly half of our patients to achieve complete, long-term remission from depression with minimal and mild side effects.


At the Integrative Healthcare Center, we stay updated with the latest advancements and innovations in depression treatment. We incorporate those procedures that are safe and backed by substantial studies to ensure effective and secure recovery for our patients.


If you want to start your Deep TMS treatment at our Nashua, New Hampshire clinic, please call us at (855) 599-9987 or connect with us online. Leveraging evolving technology and science, we are committed to overcoming challenges in depression recovery. We’re here to implement safe and effective treatments – contact us today!

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