Some Depression Patients Find The Effects Of Magnetic Therapy Really Stick
Some patients who struggle with depression say a new alternative treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy is doing the work that a prescription anti-depressant cannot do alone. NY1's Health reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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A 59-year-old Upper East Side patient who simply wanted to be called “Jerry” for the purposes of this story says he has struggled with depression most of his adult life. He has tried more medications than he can count to treat it.
"They either don’t work at all or work for some period of time, as little as a few weeks or as much as six months," says Jerry.
But his psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Manevitz at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says more patients like Jerry have been getting the help they need with newer technology — Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy.
"This was developed originally for treatment of resistant depression for patients who had failed with antidepressants," says Manevitz. "It has been found to be highly effective in patients at this point in time who failed at least one treatment of antidepressants."
The machine works by sending magnetic pulses to stimulate key areas of the brain that control the mood.
"What we found is that using a combination of the TMS and cognitive behavior therapy along with medications, we have been able to show a result of 90-percent response rate and 70 to 80 percent remission rates in our patients," says Manevitz.
For those patients, that result seems to be truly life-changing.
"It was to the point that I couldn’t get out of the house to go to the supermarket, it was a daunting task," says Jerry. "Now I am awake. I can get up in the morning, stay awake, be alert, be functional."
The cost of treatment does come with a hefty out-of-pocket price tag, about $350 for each procedure over a course of four to six weeks, racking up to about $10,500. Some insurance companies are covering the treatment through appeals, but doctors and patients are hoping more will hop on board.