View in browser | March 2017

Spring is officially upon us, and as this season of growth and change approaches, there is much to look forward to, including, the continued success and growing popularity of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment within the mental health community! Week after week we see stories detailing the success of the treatment on both individual and institutional levels. The momentum and increasing excitement around this noninvasive, drug-free therapy is clear, and given this, it seemed time to get down to brass tacks.

TMS Therapy: A Patient’s Guide

What do we know so far?
We know it’s cutting edge, we know it’s new, we know it has been shown, in clinical trials, to work for nearly 60% of patients, but what’s the therapy experience really like the day of?

What can the patient expect?
Any medical treatment can be intimidating, especially one involving the brain, but with TMS there’s no reason to fret.

TMS treatment is an outpatient procedure that allows patients to return to their normal activities right away. The treatment is so noninvasive that a patient could receive TMS therapy on his or her lunch break, and still make it back to the office fully aware and ready to take that 2PM conference call like nothing has changed. The upside is, that with each session things are changing, and the positive effects become truly noticeable typically three to five weeks after treatment begins. When a patient arrives at a TMS treatment facility, the procedure is quite simple. As outlined by the Mayo Clinic, “During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead," where a, "pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression,”1 Each session typically lasts between 38 and 55 minutes and there is no prep or recovery required. Precise treatment time greatly depends on the intensity level required for the individual patient. The higher the intensity, the more rest time between stimulation cycles is required. No matter what, at 37 minutes and 30 seconds the patient is given 26 seconds to rest, as the neurons need time to repolarize.

As with any medical treatment, it’s recommended that patients ask any questions of the TMS specialist beforehand.


Vets and TMS

Following the success of the multi-year, national clinical TMS trials, the use of the treatment has expanded geographically and across various medical sectors. At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina, VA researcher Dr. Mark George is leading a charge to include TMS treatment as a viable and accessible option for treating depression among veterans. As reported by a local Washington publication, the Moultrie News, “The experimental medicine national study, funded by VA and conducted at eight VA medical centers including Charleston, has shown such promise for alleviating depression in Veterans that VA is purchasing 40 TMS machines like the one now in use in Dr. George’s clinic at the Charleston VA, for Veteran treatment in multiple locations nationwide.”2 A recent study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that on average approximately 20 Veterans commit suicide everyday.3 These results are incredibly alarming and highly indicative of the need for an alternative approach to treating and supporting U.S. military veterans.

In Charleston, and nationwide, there is hope. The success of TMS therapy among the veteran population to date has been remarkable. As reported by the Moultrie news, “Over the past three years, George reports that about 60 percent of the patients in the trial reached a state of remission with their depression. “We stimulate this certain part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, and if we do that for several weeks, we can get people un-depressed,” George explains.”

As the Moultrie News article goes on to demonstrate, the treatment is working well for vets. “TMS Research Veteran participant Percy Jones is a case in point [of the treatment’s success]. “At one time, I was having an awful lot of problems isolating myself,” Jones remembers. “I got angry easily and I was always very nervous. I couldn’t sleep. I started drinking too much. It got to the point where I was suicidal. I just didn’t want to live.” Almost immediately after Jones enrolled in the national research study, in which he received 9,000 pulses per treatment three days a week (a very high, experimental treatment regimen), he began feeling results. While these outcomes are unique, and this particular method is not yet FDA approved, it does bode well for the potential scope and future use of TMS treatment.

So often veterans in particular feel isolated, hopeless, and ignored in their depression. The possibility that TMS treatment will be available at VA hospitals across the nation offers a great deal of promise in the treatment of depression and PTSD in particular.


A recent, newsworthy, testimonial.

This month we go to Seattle, Washington to the story of Jan Webb. According to Q13 Fox, “Webb battled depression for 35 years and it was something that impacted her entire life.”4 By the time Webb was introduced to TMS treatment, she had tried a number of pharmaceuticals that failed to help, “had been hospitalized 5 times,” had entirely lost her passion and drive for exercise, and was practically bed ridden. Webb began the treatment in August of 2016 and after only three months, “she says she was a changed person.”

According to Webb’s doctor, Rebecca Bay, there are not many facilities in the Puget Sound area offering TMS treatment, and the treatment is only introduced after patients try traditional medications first, “it’s slowly gaining popularity but some psychiatrists aren’t always quick to accept new technology,” Q13 Fox reports. For Webb, the decision to try TMS treatment was a life-changing one. “Every little aspect with life was drudgery, I have to do this, I have to do that. I don’t experience that anymore it’s gone,” she said. Like many who have experienced TMS, the world has re-opened to Webb in ways she did not expect would be possible.


Erin Ginder-Shaw
Freelance Writer





Contact Us For TMS
We are excited here at Siyan Clinical to be able to offer TMS to our patients. We continue to see amazing results of our patients who have completed our TMS treatment program.
Please talk to your doctor or call our offices at (707) 206-7268 ext 13 for more information.
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