Several Long Island psychiatrists have turned to a drug-free method of treating patients with severe depression by directing pulses of electromagnetic energy into the mood center of the brain.
Using a magnet therapeutically, doctors say, helps overcome challenges posed by anti-depressants -- sometimes they work, but often they don't, when depression is severe. Genovese in 2009 became part of the first wave of private practitioners to embrace the therapy following its extensive clinical testing and use in academic treatment centers. A computer turns the magnet on and off 10 times per second, Genovese said, and sounds like a typewriter as it induces an electromagnetic current. Many patients develop resistance to medications used to treat major depressive disorder, Surpris said, noting the drugs also can cause side effects, such as weight gain, decreased libido and nausea. Michael Genovese is pictured with the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system which is used for magnetic pulse energy treatment at his office in Garden City Thursday. Michael Genovese, a Garden City psychiatrist who has treated 62 patients with electromagnetic therapy.
Federal medical-device regulators approved the treatment system, developed by Neuronetics Inc., in 2008.


It's designed to boost specific chemicals in the brain by stimulating their production via pulses of electromagnetic energy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation offers new treatment for depression To treat depression, people usually take pills.
A machine that sends magnetic pulses into a patient's brain has become the new frontier of depression treatment, promising to ease symptoms for those who have found little relief from medication or talk therapy.The treatment, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is part of a wave of technologies that attempt to jolt the brain back to health. Patients recline in a chair similar to one in a dental office as the machine delivers pulses to a specific region in the brain's left prefrontal cortex.
The electromagnetic energy stimulates neurons -- impulse-triggering cells in the brain -- to balance the production of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. It was like somebody hit the reset button."The device contains seven coils that deliver a dose of Transcranial Pulsating Electro Magnetic Fields (T-PEMF) to brain tissues.
The pulses are so minute that the patient cannot detect any sensation, and the only side effect so far is occasional "tiny" nausea that immediately disappears after treatment.Prof Steen Dissing, of Copenhagen's Faculty of Health Sciences is the helmet's principal architect. Some studies have found that these techniques help to elevate the moods of people with severe depression.


It is hoped patients will see an improvement in symptoms such as limb stiffness and tremors. David Brock of Neuronetics, the Pennsylvania-based company that sought FDA approval for its TMS machines, pointed to a rebuttal by the study's authors that defended their methodology and cited the improvement made by patients who received the treatment. Subsequent research, Brock said, has further demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology.The FDA decided to allow TMS as a depression treatment, and many Medicare contractors have since covered the service. Though private insurance companies remain split, with companies such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois paying for TMS and others declining to do so, more than 100 million people now have coverage for the treatment, Brock saidThat has encouraged more health care providers to invest in the machines, which doctors said cost $75,000 to $90,000.



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