Cool

If it actually works:

The United States Food and Drug Administration approved a helmet that treats depression using — wait for it — magnets. It might sound like weird science, but doctors are hailing it as a non-invasive and effective alternative to antidepressants.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS), involves wearing a helmet filled with electromagnetic coils that sends magnetic pulses to “rewire” specific neural pathways in the brain. Brainsway, a publicly traded Israeli company, has an exclusive license for the technology.


While TMS bears some resemblance to electroconvulsive therapy, doctors say it works quite differently. Traditional shock therapy induces seizures to release neurotransmitters, the goal for TMS is to energize nerve tracks in the brain by making them fire more frequently. The magnetic field impulses of TMS are far gentler, the same strength as those used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.

One Response to Cool

  1. quixote January 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    “Traditional shock therapy induces seizures to release neurotransmitters, the goal for TMS is to energize nerve tracks in the brain by making them fire more frequently” to release neurotransmitters.

    The first is like cutting butter with a chain saw. The second is like using a shovel. Still fairly crude, but there’s a lot less splatter. They’re both trying to do the same thing though: change patterns of neurotransmitter release.

Site Meter