Sunday, June 01, 2008

Magnetic Therapy

I have worked with several individuals who have not had success with the combination of talk therapy and medication to reduce their psychological symptoms.

It is always disheartening when this occurs. And when it does, I always recommend looking into alternative therapies to address what conventional treatments can not.

One of the more recent alternative therapies uses magnets. Yes, that's right, magnets.

This illustration above shows the visual cortex of the brain during Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

rTMS, as it is called, is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that increases neural blood flow in the brain. The procedure is not a surgical one, and should not be confused with Electroconvulsive Therapy

In rTMS, a doctor holds a device over a specified area of the brain. Magnetic currents pass through the scalp, sending bursts of electrical fields deep into the brain to alter neural activity.

rTMS has been used for Treatment Resistant Depression for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and to reduce Schizophrenic Hallucinations - as well as to treat medical conditions like stroke, migraine, Parkinson's and Epilepsy, just to name a few.

Results have been quite variable, but it could hold great possibilities for many who have not had success with more conventional treatments.


Paul B. Fitzgerald, Sarah Fountain, Zafiris J. Daskalakis (December 2006). "A comprehensive review of the effects of rTMS on motor cortical excitability and inhibition". Clinical Neurophysiology 117 (12): 2584–2596. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2006.06.712. PMID 16890483.


Clueless said...

I feel like Spock from Star Trek, "interesting." I love all the neurology stuff. It is great that we are finding more and more about how our brains work especially in relation to mental illness.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Another therapy that works in some cases, and we don't know why.

By the bye, what do you think of EMDR? Worked for my dog phobia; just ask Charlie the terrier.


I'm like 'clueless' - that's really interesting. I wonder if it serves to encourage new neural pathways to develop, in the same manner as repetitive, purposeful actions work on brain plasticity.

I just recently learned that non-suicidal MDD patients share an elevated level of IL-6 with patients who have Multiple Sclerosis or Transverse Myelitis. This is of particular interest since I was diagnosed with a Depressive Disorder (never suicidal) years before I was finally diagnosed with MS.

The body and brain are fascinating.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I wonder if it would have a positive affect on tinnitus???? Its not really related but I'd try anything for that :)

Thanks for great info, as always!

Deb said...

Dear Clueless,
If I had to choose a different career, I think I'd be a neurologist. The way our neuropathways work intrigues me.

Dear GOM,
I want to get certified in EMDR. I believe there is a strong neurobiology to repetitive eye movement and neural pathways. So glad it helped you. Wonderful to read that!!

Dear Lisa,
We are learning more and more each day about neural pathways, how the brain can re-learn and even create new pathways. Amazing stuff, I agree. Didn't know that about the elevated levels. See, blogging is great for sharing and learning new things. I'm gonna check that commonality out now.

Dear Barbara,
It HAS been used for Tinnitus. I forgot to mention that. Check it out for yourself and let us know!!

Psychiatry101 said...

Interesting info!
Thank you for blogrolling me,I blogrolled you too!!

Kahless said...

Never heard of this before... it does sound weird.

Janes Insane said...

I would imagine magnetic therapy could be very useful under the right person's care. This is really encouraging, especially for people that are unsuccessful to find relief with other means. I cannot imagine how wonderful it must be for someone with hallucinations to finally find a solution.

Mary said...

Well that sounds really interesting, Ive had ECT and would never recommend it to anyone, I hope this is better..Mary

Anonymous said...

I remembering hearing about rTMS when it was first being used in treatment-resistant patients and I thought it was fascinating. I think it's definitely another option for those who are having a terrible time trying to improve their depressive symptoms.

It's amazing how many different problems rTMS might help :)


Ian Lidster said...

I think the concept is intriguing, and the non-invasive aspect of it is especially interesting. Must read more on this. I know a guy who works locally on the premise of resonant light therapy, and I've written features on him. He believes in it with all his heart and so do some other therapists.

The Lone Beader said...

I dunno, Doc. Looks like some kinda strange alien testing to me. LOL

Mary said...

Hi Dr. Deb. Thanks so much for viewing my blog, and I am touched that you would add to to your blog.
It's so hard to get my feelings out in the open, but I'm going to try harder...Mary

Ms.L said...

That is really neat! I didn't know such a thing existed..

Anonymous said...

wow I wonder if that would work for me because nothing else seems to be helping!

your blog is so informative!

Health Psych said...

That really sounds interesting. I'd like to read more on this.

phd in yogurtry said...

Veddy Interesting. Hd not heard of this, so thanks for the info.

Would like to see outcome study with "standing on one's head" as a control group and other forms of posturing to produce more blood flow to the brain. Like one of those upside down contraptions. Have read anecdotal claims that this improves mood.

Tiptoe said...

I've read these studies on rTMS. I really like the fact it is non-invasive.

I think this is definitely an approach when conventional methods fail. We are, after all very individualistic.

Marie said...

Maybe that would work for me! I am willing to try anything to make myself feel better.

Sid said...

I'd heard about magnetic therapy awhile ago. After experiencing years of failure with so many treatments, including invasive ones like ECT and the VNS implant, I personally hold no hope that anything will work for me.

I still find it good though that researchers are trying new things. Hopefully others with treatment resistent depression will find relief with one of the new methods they're experimenting with.

S'onnie said...

I think alternatives are great especially for those who traditional medicine or therapy is not working

εξωσωματική γονιμοποίηση στην Ελλάδα said...


Magnetic therapy is effective on humen brain and I think this time doctors are avoide to this.

Kawana Aminata Oliver said...

Seems like somthing I need to check in on ;-)

Wanda's Wings said...


STAG said...

Spent my life working around high powered transmitters, (radio waves and magnetism are two sides of the same coin, one creates t'other) and my gut feeling is that magnetics such as this are a pretty blunt instrument. I watched a bird go crazy in the beam of a radar transmitter, and die by repeatedly flying into the ground. So there is no doubt in my mind that something is going on. I just can't bring myself to believe that it could be anything good!
On the other hand, if you like, I will sell you a pretty little copper bracelet with 25 cents worth of rare earth magnets in it for only 25 dollars! I have heard there are some "good results", expecially be the people marketing such bogus products.

Dr. Shock said...

I am not so convinced rTMS might work for treatment resistant depression. Recent literature is disappointing, for more information please visit my blog:
Regards Dr Shock

Shaheen Lakhan said...

Thanks for submitting this post to our blog carnival. We just published the 35th edition of Brain Blogging and your article was featured!

Thank you.