A new study led by Stanford Medicine researchers is the first to reveal how magnetic stimulation treats severe depression: by correcting the abnormal flow of brain signals.
Powerful magnetic pulses applied to the scalp to stimulate the brain can bring fast relief to many severely depressed patients for whom standard treatments have failed.
Yet it’s been a mystery exactly how transcranial magnetic stimulation, as the treatment is known, changes the brain to dissipate depression. Now, research led by Stanford Medicine scientists has found that the treatment works by reversing the direction of abnormal brain signals.
The findings also suggest that backward streams of neural activity between key areas of the brain could be used as a biomarker to help diagnose depression.
The FDA-cleared treatment, known as Stanford neuromodulation therapy, incorporates advanced imaging technologies to guide stimulation with high-dose patterns of magnetic pulses that can modify brain activity related to major depression.
Source: Stanford Medicine