FDA Looks to Magnets to Treat Depression - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/6/04

FDA Looks to Magnets to Treat Depression

Imagine sitting back comfortably in a chair while a magnet reverses your depression. Sounds like a gimmick, but the Food and Drug Administration says let's look into that.

So, now there are 16 university and private testing sites in the country about to begin full scale clinical trials. Patients take a seat and an electronic magnet simply transmits subtle pulses through the hand and to the brain where a series of neurons are activated, producing the anti-depressive response.

The FDA-approved clinical trials will take volunteers through a 45 minute treatment every day, five days a week for six weeks. Researchers believe it is painless, safe, and one more option for those who have tried everything else.

"This very difficult, demoralized group of patients that have tried Pro, Ephemera, a variety of drugs, and nothing has worked very well," explains Dr. James Ferguson from Reliant Research Group.

"There doesn't seem to be any ongoing memory loss from this treatment. The risk of seizures is very, very low," adds Dr. Fares Arguello, psychiatrist.

Doctors have been using this device in Europe for years, and they report that some patients after this treatment remain depression-free for up to a year before needing booster treatments in the chair.

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