Magnetic solution for depression?

October 22, 2008 8:03:39 AM PDT
Good news for the millions of Americans who experience depression: the FDA has approved a first-of-its-kind treatment that uses non-invasive techniques instead of pills or shock therapy. Nineteen-million Americans suffer from depression every year.

A new treatment is called transcranial magnetic stimulation. A brain stimulator beams magnetic pulses into the head.

Doctors have long thought patients who are depressed have less activity in the left frontal portion of the brain which controls mood. By targeting that area with pulses of magnetic energy, brain cells get a jumpstart to get working.

A few weeks into treatment, a quarter of the patients in the study saw noticeable changes, including improvements in mood, energy level, sleep patterns and increase in appetite.