Waving the Magnetic Wand on Mental Illness
A Monash University pioneered medical treatment using intense magnetic fields, is effectively treating patients with drug-resistant depression.
The new Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) clinic, which opened in 2011, has treated 100 patients with a long history of mental illness.
Pioneered by experts at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), the treatment works to put the symptoms of depression into remission.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) will give hope to the 30 per cent of patients diagnosed with clinical depression who don’t respond to medical or psychological treatment.
Deputy director of MAPrc, Professor Paul Fitzgerald, said TMS uses a magnetic field to stimulate the front area of the brain, including an electrical current in the nerve cells, which increases activity.
“Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a straightforward non-invasive procedure which takes only 45-minutes so people do not need to be admitted to hospital,” Professor Fitzgerald said.
“Depression affects mood, but it also affects concentration, focus and the ability to think positively about things.
“It seems by making the front of the brain more active it re-establishes the capacity of the ‘thinking part’ of the brain to control emotions,”
The therapy is provided free to public patients. This year proceeds from the de Castella run for mental health research on 25 August will help more people gain access to the program.
The de Castella run is a proud supporter of MAPrc and aims to raise awareness of mental illness, which accounts for third highest cause of disability and premature death.