Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Shining a Light on TMS: Edmond Institute Treats Depression without Medication

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Shining a Light on TMS: Edmond Institute Treats Depression without Medication

Article excerpt

The financial cost of major depression can seem as formidable as the darkness of the disease itself.

In addition to medications and treatments, people with major depression often miss work, neglect preventive care or suffer because other medical conditions are exacerbated by the despair.

A technology newcomer to the psychiatry field in Oklahoma is showing promise in battling severe depression.

The Transcranial Institute of Oklahoma was founded in Edmond to bring the NeuroStar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy) to the state. Psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Morris had been sending patients who weren't responding to conventional treatments to Canada, where they were finding success with TMS therapy. When the therapy received its approval from the Food and Drug Administration in October 2008, she set about bringing it to her practice.

Today, it's been almost a year since she began offering TMS therapy, and she's hopeful that the good results will convince more Oklahoma insurers to provide coverage for an otherwise expensive treatment.

"There's a huge financial burden to major depression," Morris said. "We're hoping to present this data that we're getting such excellent results, particularly for folks who are very, very depressed, but also for people who are not as depressed - that they're not having to do maintenance medication. We're hoping to convince insurers that this really is financially a more conservative way to go over the haul because we can treat depression in a more effective manner."

TMS is rapid pulsing magnetic therapy to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which modulates depression. In major depression, the area is underactive, Morris said, so the therapy activates the cortex, which communicates with deeper structures in the brain. Patients simply lie in a dental-like chair for the treatment, and the machine is activated for four out of every 30 seconds. After the initial visit, a treatment lasts about 37.5 minutes, she said, and a course is 26 treatments. The only side effects reported are a slight headache after the first treatment and a tapping feeling on the head during the four seconds of pulsing. People can drive themselves to the treatment, often on their lunch break, and return to their work or other activities, she said. …

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