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UQ news depression TMS

Stimulating possibilities arise from brain study

Kirsten MacGregor, UQ News |  September 7, 2016

Copyright© 2016 The University of Queensland

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Queensland researchers have identified a domino effect from a brain stimulation technique used to treat psychiatric disorders such as clinical depression.

The University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer scientists have found that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can alter activity beyond the stimulated region and throughout the connected networks of the brain.

UQ Queensland Brain Institute researcher Professor Jason Mattingley said TMS was a non-invasive procedure using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

“It is sometimes used to treat depression, when medications haven’t been effective,” he said.

The latest research findings may shed light on how to use TMS in a more targeted way to treat mental health disorders.

“As well as a research tool, TMS is becoming more widely accepted as a clinical treatment for neurological and psychiatric disorders, but it’s been unclear why it is effective,” Professor Mattingley said.

“As a proof of principle, our work focused on two visual brain areas – one that registers basic sensory information, and another that regulates what we do with that information.

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