Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Appears Effective for Depression in the Elderly

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Appears Effective for Depression in the Elderly

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Transcranial magnetic stimulation may be effective in treating geriatric depression, according to preliminary data.

In previous studies, depressed elderly patients had limited or no response to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), Dr. Ziad Nahas said at the annual meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Preliminary data from a study of 10 nondemented, depressed patients, however, show that TMS may be effective when the distance from the skull to the cortex is used to adjust stimulation intensity.

Of patients participating in the study who were aged an average of 62 years, five treated with TMS showed a 50% improvement in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores. They either were not taking antidepressants or had been stable on medication for 4 weeks.

TMS was administered at 5 Hz in 15 sessions over 3 weeks. Although mean stimulation was 120% of motor threshold, one patient with significant atrophy reached 150%--the highest motor threshold.

Nonresponders tended to have a shorter duration of illness, suggesting that patients with late--onset depression may not respond to current TMS parameters. …

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