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Treatment-Resistant Depression: Results of Latest Electromagnetic Stimulation Study Show Promise

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An investigational treatment employing electromagnetic stimulation relieved depression in 25 patients whose depression failed to respond to conventional treatment, report Emory University researchers at this week's American Psychiatric Association meeting.

Scores on depression rating scales administered to study subjects before, during and after the new treatment "were significantly improved at all time points compared to baseline," says first author Yvonne M. Greene, M.D., in the abstract; Dr. Greene is a neurosciences fellow at the Emory University School of Medicine and has collaborated on the open trial with William McDonald, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine, and others.

"Sixty-four percent of patients were rated 'very much improved' or 'much improved' on the (CGIC) Clinical Global Impression of Change and 40 percent of patients had an equal to or greater than 50 percent decrease in HDRS (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) scores at the end of treatment week two. Forty percent of patients were rated 'very much improved' or 'much improved' on the CGIC and 32 percent of patients had an equal to or greater than 50 percent decrease in HDRS scores at the end of the four-week followup.

"These results suggest rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) may be a viable option for patients with treatment-resistant depression," the authors say.

Prior to receiving rTMS, "There were an average of seven antidepressant failures per patient and eight patients had failed electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)," they say.

"rTMS involves passing current through an electromagnetic coil to generate a magnetic field," they explain. "The magnetic field acts as the medium between electricity in the coil and induced electrical currents in the brain. The current depolarizes neurons in the brain up to a depth of about two centim
'"/>

Contact: Sarah Goodwin
sgoodwi@emory@emory.edu
404-727-3366
Emory University Health Sciences Center
17-May-1999


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