February 2017 TMS Newsletter

You may have noticed, in order to keep the information flowing on the encouraging and ever-growing success of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy, we here at Siyan Clinical have decided to launch a monthly newsletter. Each month we’ll provide new and relevant facts designed to keep you up to date on the latest TMS news as well as offer some context and insights into the fascinating world of this cutting-edge treatment. As mentioned in our December edition, TMS therapy is the first Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy approved by the FDA, and its success to date has been remarkable. Unlike other depression treatments, TMS is a noninvasive, outpatient, drug-free therapy that stimulates an area of the brain associated with mood regulation and in clinical trials has shown a high success rate in improvement from depression symptoms. TMS is rapidly becoming a game changer in the world of depression treatment.

A brief history of TMS

Let’s go way back to the late 1700s for a moment, to Italy, the recorded birthplace of electrophysiology or, the study of the production of electrical activity and the effects of that electrical activity on the body 1. Sometime in the early 1780s, Italian physician and physicist Luigi Galvani began experimenting with the effects of electricity on the muscular and nervous systems. His most famous experiments involved frogs. To put it simply, Galvani noticed that when electricity came in contact with the animals’ lumbar nerve, they kicked. The results of these experiments illuminated the relationship between electricity and nerve impulse 2 Galvani has since been credited with the discovery of animal electricity, and the idea that, as noted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “electricity was the long-sought vital force coursing from brain to muscles.” 3

Galvani’s nephew, physicist Giovanni Aldini, who had witnessed and participated in some of his uncle’s experiments, was the first to use Galvani’s work in conjunction with that of Italian physicist and chemist Alessandro Volta. Aldini combined his uncle’s discovery of animal electricity, with Volta’s discovery of bimetallic electricity to conduct experiments on the human body that eventually led to the treatment of patients with personality disorders through the administration of transcranial electric current. As noted once more by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Aldini's work laid the ground for the development of various forms of electrotherapy that were heavily used later in the 19th century. Even today, deep brain stimulation, a procedure currently employed to relieve patients with motor or behavioral disorders, owes much to Aldini and galvanism.” Galvani, Volta, and Aldini paved the way for electrotherapy as it is known today, and, subsequently, for the development of TMS therapy.

Following the breakthroughs of the 18th century, exploration of the body’s relationship to electric current and the impact it has on the brain continued to deepen until, in 1937, Italian physicians Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini introduced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Formerly known as electroshock therapy, ECT induces seizures through electrical current as a means of treating severe depression and other psychiatric illnesses. In 1938 when the first procedure was conducted, ECT offered a highly revolutionary and promising method for treating patients. In fact, ECT rose in popularity so quickly that by the mid-seventies it was, by some accounts, being overused as a treatment method. While ECT has proven effective for many patients since its introduction, there are a number of potential serious side effects, the risk of memory loss is quite high and it requires the patient be put under anesthesia.

After ECT was introduced, research into these sorts of treatments (those which involve neuromodulatory techniques) continued to grow and in 1985, the first successful TMS study (which uses magnetic pulses instead of electrical current) was conducted by Anthony Barker 4, who just received the first International Brain Stimulation Award for his work. Dr. Barker and his colleagues conducted experiments that, “produced twitching in a specific area of the hand in human volunteers by applying TMS to the motor cortex in the opposite hemisphere that controls movement of that muscle,” which, “demonstrated that TMS was capable of stimulating precise area of brain and without the pain of electrical stimulation.” 5 Since then, TMS therapy has undergone a number of trials and studies and in 2008 NeuroStar TMS therapy was approved by the FDA as a treatment for depression. The success of the treatment and its impact on the world of mental health continues to grow. It would appear that finally, those suffering from severe depression have a legitimate shot at significantly reducing their symptoms, and in some cases, experiencing complete remission.

TMS therapy is changing the game, and there is a rich history of scientific study to support it.

TMS on TV!

Further proof that the awareness and notoriety of TMS therapy is increasing… on a recent episode of the NBC drama, Chicago Med, one of the main characters, Dr. Latham, received advice from a colleague, Dr. Charles, that TMS therapy might be a useful treatment option for Dr.Latham’s suspected Aspergers syndrome (which is on the austism spectrum). While there’s no scientific evidence of this fact, yet, and TMS therapy has only been FDA approved for depression, as Dr. Charles (played by Oliver Platt) stated in the episode, “there is anecdotal evidence that it can benefit people with spectrum disorders.” Even network television appears to have an interest in the growing success and potential of TMS!

A recent, newsworthy, testimonial.

This month we go to Kentwood, Michigan where a local news channel has relayed the story of Michelle Kregel. For Kregel, depression kicked in in a substantive way after the birth of her third child. What resulted was a, “debilitating experience with depression.”6After initially treating her depression with counseling and antidepressants, just to have it reemerge, Kregel’s doctor suggested TMS therapy. As quoted in the story, Kregel’s doctor stated, “we’re always left with a certain number of people who just don’t get better with medication and therapy combined, and this is where we go next.” For Kregel this procedure was life changing and it has been years since she experienced any of the symptoms that left her unable to lead a happy, fulfilled life. As with many TMS patients, Kregel is eager to inform those dealing with similar depression of her success.


Referance Links

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=32157
  2. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Luigi-Galvani
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15595271
  4. http://www.tmslab.org/publications/017.pdf
  5. https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/dr.-anthony-t.-barker-wins-first-international-brain-stimulation-award
  6. http://woodtv.com/2017/01/31/kentwood-office-helps-master-depression-with-magnetic-therapy/

About the Author

Erin Ginder-Shaw
Freelance Writer

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We are excited here at Siyan Clinical to be able to offer TMS to our patients. We have seen amazing results in the first patients who have graduated from our program. Please talk to your doctor or call our offices at (707) 206-7268 ext 13 for more information.


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