WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and unfortunately treatments for depression don’t always work. In fact, two-thirds of people with depression are not helped by the first antidepressant that they try and up to a third of people don’t respond to several attempts at treatment. But a particular type of therapy aimed at treatment-resistant depression is seeking to make a difference. Ivanhoe has the details.
This is what 80-year-old John Herbert does to treat his depression. After 33 years as an airline pilot, a plane crash turned John’s world upside-down.
“I lost 54 friends in an aviation accident. Basically, flew right over that night when I was on my way to Lisbon and the memory just burned in my brain,” shared Herbert.
He’s been on antidepressants for almost 20 years since the crash, but they weren’t working as well as he hoped.
Jay Bolaram, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, explained, “Patients who have been through a combination of antidepressants have failed to the treatment response, TMS comes in.”
TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. The therapy is a magnetic impulse which delivers guided stimulation to the brain to treat depression. Traditional TMS treatment sessions average 37 minutes, but a recent FDA cleared device delivers rapid TMS treatment in only three minutes for four to six weeks.
“In this aspect, they found the same effectiveness of the 35 minutes to a three-minute treatment,” continued Dr. Bolaram.
Clinical trials have shown 50 percent of patients with treatment-resistant depression reached 50 percent reduction in symptoms and a third of patients achieved complete remission. Before doing the rapid TMS treatments, Herbert had a hard time getting out to do the things he loves.
“I was at the point where I’d try anything,” said Herbert.
After the rapid TMS treatment, he’s out of the house and back into the swing of things.
Dr. Bolaram says the only side effect of rapid TMS is a mild headache, which can be treated with Tylenol. TMS is not suitable for patients with epilepsy, a history of seizures, or those with any type of metal fragments in their head.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
RAPID TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
BACKGROUND: Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. It is also known to decrease your ability to function at work and at home. Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year, and one in six people will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can occur at any time, but on average, first appears during a person’s late teens to mid-20’s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression, showing that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
CAUSES AND TREATMENTS: The exact cause of depression isn’t known. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing it. A combination of genes and stress can affect brain chemistry and reduce the ability to maintain mood stability. Changes in the balance of hormones might also contribute. Depression may also be triggered by alcohol or drug use; certain medical conditions, such as cancer or hypothyroidism; types of medications, including steroids; or abuse during childhood. SSRIs are a frequently prescribed type of antidepressant and work by helping inhibit the breakdown of serotonin in the brain, resulting in higher amounts of this neurotransmitter. Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment which involves meeting with a therapist on a regular basis to talk about your condition and related issues. In addition to taking medications and participating in therapy, making some changes to your daily habits can help, such as diet. Nutritious foods benefit your mind and body, and while no foods can cure depression, certain healthy food choices can benefit your mental well-being. Foods like salmon, beans and whole grains, and nuts, seeds and yogurt.
BREAKTHROUGH IN DEPRESSION TREATMENT: UT Southwestern initiated a series of national clinical trials to better understand mood disorders and have uncovered several breakthroughs. Through the combination of a blood test, brain imaging, and artificial intelligence, they can assess patients’ biological signatures and move past the guessing game of choosing depression treatments. In early 2020, research showed that an electroencephalogram (EEG) can show whether a patient is more likely to respond to an antidepressant medication, talk therapy, or even brain stimulation. The study published in Nature Biotechnology included more than 300 participants with depression who were randomly chosen to receive either a placebo or an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). The team then developed a machine-learning algorithm to analyze and use the EEG data to predict which patients would benefit from the medication within two months. Not only did the artificial intelligence accurately predict outcomes, further research suggested that patients who were doubtful to respond to an antidepressant were likely to improve with other interventions such as psychotherapy or brain stimulation.
* For More Information, Contact:
Jay Bolaram, MD
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