Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation program : Making a Difference
Our Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation program (TMS) was established in August 2016 to provide a safe, effective, drug free treatment for Major Depression for patients who have been unable to receive relief from antidepressants. To date approximately 30 patients have completed the course of treatment and we have seen amazing results.
I was grateful to be offered a new job opportunity, but very shortly thereafter, I realized that I had found a new career. As part of my continuing education, I was fortunate to be able to attend the 5th Annual Clinical TMS Society's Educational Conference which was held in San Diego on May 18th through 20th. The event was attended by researcher clinicians, doctors, TMS technicians and anyone interested in the burgeoning field of brain stimulation.
The Clinical TMS Society was established in 2013 as "a professional association dedicated to optimizing clinical practice, awareness, and accessibility of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy". Based on this mission statement, the conference achieved this goal as demonstrated by the long list of guest speakers, both nationally and internationally recognized leaders. Topics ranged from "Matching the Stimulation Target to the Patient", "The Mechanisms of Action of TMS in Depression", to "Essential Insurance and Financial Matters to Care for your Patient".

There were also presentations on future possibilities, such as "Theta Burst Stimulation Compared to High Frequency rTMS in the Treatment of Depression: Preliminary Results from a Randomized Non-Inferiority Trial" presented by Dr. Daniel Blumberger, which highlighted a possible treatment protocol that would reduce a patient's treatment time from about 38 minutes to less than 10. Other topics on current research for future possibilities included "TMS Treatment in Pregnancy" and "TMS for the Treatment of Tinnitus".

Another lecture "Treating Conditions Other than MDD with TMS: Bipolar Depression, OCD and Autism" presented by Dr. Scott Aaronson and Dr. Eric Hollander, outlined research that is investigating many other conditions that may benefit from TMS.

In my opinion, the highlight of the conference was presented by Dr. Mark S. George: "10 Years Post FDA Approval. What We Need Scientifically in the Decade to Come". Dr. George, a pioneer in brain stimulation, is editor in chief of the journal "Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translation and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation", Director of the Medical University of South Carolina's Center for Advance Imaging Research and the Brain Stimulation Laboratory, and has published over 200 scientific articles. His lecture gave a brief overview of the history of brain stimulation and the studies and work on TMS done to pave the way for FDA approval in 2008 for the treatment of depression. He summarized what we have learned since 2008, but the focus was on what research needs to be done in the next decade. He predicts that FDA approval for TMS for adolescents as young as 14 will be next on the list, followed by protocols for anxiety, PTSD, OCD as well as TMS for geriatric patients over the age of 70.

This year was the first time the Society has offered a workshop called "Pulses" directed toward new TMS technicians to provide a forum to discuss new clinical trial results, review industry standards and have hands on time with all of the FDA cleared devices on the market. The workshop was also open to doctors who are starting a TMS program or are considering a program in the future. In fact out of 38 enrollees approximately 20 doctors fell into this category. The workshop also provided a wonderful opportunity to network with other technicians and share experiences and pass on helpful tips to each other.

Although the conference was incredibly busy (I attended the Pulses Workshop, 16 lectures and 4 device presentations), the experience was incredibly inspiring to see that TMS and other forms of brain stimulation will become even more commonplace in the future not only for depression, but for many other conditions as well. The future of TMS looks bright.
Juliana Matteucci,
TMS Technician

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