Cambridge Biotherapies now offers such an accelerated brain stimulation treatment for depression.
In the Stanford study, patients underwent 10 sessions per day of 10-minute treatments, with 50-minute breaks between treatments. Each treatment was an extended version of the currently FDA-approved “Theta Burst” TMS, which requires specialized equipment to deliver. On average, three days of the therapy were enough for participants to experience relief from depression. One study participant’s mood score indicated she was no longer depressed after a single day of treatment, while it took up to five days for other participants to achieve remission.
The only side effects of this new, rapid TMS approach were fatigue and some discomfort during treatment.
Of particular note: In order to test safety, the researchers evaluated the participants’ cognitive function before and after treatment. They found no negative side effects. Instead, they discovered that the participants’ ability to switch between mental tasks and to solve problems had improved — a typical outcome for people who are no longer depressed. And one month after the therapy, 60% of participants were still in remission from depression.
At Cambridge Biotherapies we are able to treat patients using precisely the same parameters used in the Stanford study. The only difference in our approach is that we use an FDA-approved, office-based method of finding the treatment location, called direct brain mapping, rather than MRI. And for patients with anxiety, we offer the option of concurrent treatment with a theta burst TMS protocol directed toward alleviation of those symptoms as well.
We have begun treating patients using the Stanford SAINT protocol at Cambridge Biotherapies, and our initial experience with accelerated TMS has led us to feel optimistic that this new treatment approach represents a paradigm shift in TMS therapy, with potential substantial benefits to patients with depression.
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