[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The current array of depression treatments are hit and miss. What works great for one patient may do nothing for another. Brain stimulation therapy can dredge up memories of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but new breakthroughs in low-strength magnetic stimulation (LFMS) is showing great promise with depressed and bi-polar patients.
What is Low-Field Magnetic Stimulation (LFMS)?
Discovered by accident by Dr. Michael Rohan, LFMS uses very low powered oscillating magnets to create an electromagnetic field. The LFMS device looks like a miniature tabletop MRI that you put your head inside and is completely silent. Dr. Rohan personally created the portable tabletop LFMS device that is easy to use, unintimidating, and completely non-intensive. Because this is a developing science, new models and delivery methods are still being created.
LFMS “resets” the brain, changing the number of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, available. This quick increase in neurotransmitters gives patients nearly instant depression relief.
In comparison, anti-depressants and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be expensive, take several weeks to work, may not offer depression relief, and the side effects can be debilitating. ECT can cause memory loss, takes several sessions to work, and is much more invasive than LFMS.
Unlike treatments of the past, LFMS is quick (20 minutes) and patients have reported an immediate effect on their mood and energy.
In a 2014 double blind study at McLean Hospital, 34 patients received LFMS, while 29 others went through a “fake” LFMS process, not actually receiving any brain stimulation. It was obvious which group was the test and which was the placebo, as almost the whole test group reported positive effects from LFMS. No side effects of LFMC were reported.
Another novel idea in brain stimulation is the Brainsway – a wearable helmet which delivers Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Brainsway works by sending electromagnetic pulses deep into the brain’s neurons, “resetting” the brain like LFMS. Brainsway has also showed promise in treating Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Brainsway has not shown any side effects other than possible temporary headache. Brainsway’s has been used in severe depression cases where patients had no improvement with typical anti-depressant medications. However, Brainsway therapy requires daily sessions of 20 minutes for 4 to 6 weeks, unlike LFMS which is nearly instant.
Future of LFMS
Currently, LFMS is still being studied and is only available at a few locations. More studies with more participants will be needed to fully examine the long term effects of LFMS and whether it’s a viable treatment.
Could LFMS replace anti-depressants completely? So far, scientists don’t believe that is the case, that LFMS will be used more for emergency situations. It will be interesting to note whether LFMS will become an option for patients with other neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Some research has shown that LFMS is effective in arthritis relief.
For those with SAD and the winter blues, it is unknown if LFMS is a viable option until more research is done.
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/07/new-treatment-for-depression-shows-immediate-results/[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_cta_button call_text=”Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our newsletter and make sure you don’t miss our latest posts! ” title=”Subscribe to newsletter” target=”_self” color=”btn-primary” icon=”wpb_mail” size=”btn-large” position=”cta_align_bottom” css_animation=”right-to-left” href=”http://www.beatthewinterblues.info/newsletter-signup/”][/vc_column][/vc_row]