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An Advancement in the Treatment of Depression may be from MRI Scans


According to recent research, depression symptoms may be reduced using MRI scans for a period of six months.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have found that applying targeted magnetic stimulation to specific brain regions in sad individuals utilizing scans can alleviate symptoms for as long as six months.

The technique, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), is often administered over the course of four to six weeks, and advantages may last for several months if MRIs are used to confirm that the same region of the brain is stimulated at each session.

Before beginning TMS, patients in the BRIGhTMIND trial underwent an MRI scan, which allowed the research team to focus on the intersections of the various brain systems involved in depression.

In order to better understand how the patient responded to the treatment, the researchers obtained a second scan sixteen weeks following the initial TMS session. This scan examined substances in the brain.

Neuronavigation, a computerized tracking device that uses light to deliver the TMS, was used in the trial.

“Ideally, participants in a TMS session would sit in the same spot, but this is not likely to occur,” said Richard Morriss, a University of Nottingham psychiatry professor.

“This method measures the stimulation point from the first time a patient receives the treatment by using light from both the top of the nose and the ear lobes.”

A total of 255 participants underwent 20 TMS sessions as part of the research. Over the course of 26 weeks, it was discovered that targeted TMS produced “substantial improvements” in the degree of patients’ anxiety and depression as well as improved function and quality of life.

“The MRI personalizes the site of stimulation and then neuronavigation makes sure the same site is being stimulated at each treatment session,” stated the lead for the Institute of Mental Health’s Centre for Mood Disorders.This reduces the variability in stimulation at each session. The patient can resume regular activities as soon as they leave the hospital since the magnetic pulse can be focused, and most side effects are mild and transient.

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