Magnetic Seizure Therapy May Offer New Options to
> 10/31/2005 3:08:16 PM

The beneficial effects of seizure induction on sufferers of severeacute depression and treatment resistant depression have been welldocumented. Electroconvulsive therapy,or ECT, has been at the forefront of seizure induction therapy fordecades. Despite the negative connotation placed on ECT by films suchas One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Girl, Interrupted,doctors have fined tuned ECT into a highly effective tool in the effortto help those who cannot tolerate or don’t respond to psychotropicmedications.
ECT is by no means perfect, as many critics often citeits high recidivism rate as well as the cognitive side effects (e. g.retrograde amnesia) as major flaws. In the October issue of Primary Psychiatry, several researchers discuss the benefits of a new treatment, magnetic seizure therapy (MST), being developed to replace ECT.
MST basically builds upon the already proven success of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) by looking to the success of ECT. Both MST and TMS make use of rapidly alternating magnetic fields applied to the scalp. TMShas proven successful in helping some sufferers of depression, but formore severe cases and those cases that involve the psychotic subtypegetting beneficial results requires inducing seizure.
Thedifference between convulsive and subconvulsive magnetic therapy is thestrength of frequency used, with recommended dosages for convulsivecoming in north of 50 hertz. MST represents an improvement over ECT bycutting back on side effects. Unlike the electrical current used inECT, magnetic fields are unaffected by the scalp and skull. This allowsfor greater precision in the application of the current. The resultingseizures are targeted more accurately and therefore are thought toreduce in the spread of seizure to other temporal structures, leadingto a reduction in amnestic side effects.
While not quite ready forbroad application, clinical trials thus far have shown MST to hold agreat deal of promise for those with treatment resistant depression.With its heightened accuracy of application, MST also should allowdoctors to better understand the physical workings of the brain and themechanisms that lead to depression.


Hi I am 26 yr old male emailing from Sydney Australia. In june of last yr I consumed nearly a gram of the drug ice or crystal meth (1st and last time). The drugs effect was much greater than i could have thought not to mention the horrendous "comedown" period during which i had a HIV scare that had me in a paranoid state for close to 3 months (final result was negative) This episode of depression has lasted since this event took place back on June 25 last year. I have NEVER before experienced depression ...infact it took me some time (nearly 2 months after this encounter with the methampetamine) HIV negative result to ascertain what these terrible feelings (dissconnection/reduced appetite/general apathy for life/loss of confidence actually were). The GP's advice to try antidepressants did little to hindsight they (efexor and Avanza) only exacerbated the anxiety I was experiencing. A new type of antipsychotic medication called Abilify (prescribed by psychiatrist) made me very agitated. I have used ecstasy occasionally in the past at city nightclubs but must emphasise occasionally..not regularly. I never experienced any ongoing effects (mentally or physically) after using ecstasy. My usual week involved frequent exercise both weights and running and led a healthy lifestyle overall. My appetite was always ravenous but after the encounter with the ice I lost alot of weight (much more so than any use of ecstasy) ..some seven kiliograms...and when I regained the weight my appetite and general feeling of confidence and wellbeing had not returned. I have always thought that I had very active mind and body ...thus the reason I would eat so often (despite being relatively thin) and perhaps (in hindsight) could have made me particularly susceptible to the negative effects of a psychoactive substance like this. Since this event last year I have not touched any illicit drugs and have tried my usual exercise routine of running and weights to try and mentally and physically get back on board. Have (in addition to healthy diet) been taking amino acids (glycine, inositol, L-glutamic, arginine) to try and boost mental wellbeing as well as folic acid. I did also try L-tyrosine and phenylalanine but was told they can cause agitation so stopped taking these. The major physical problem for me seems to be the inability for my body to put muscle on in response to training like I used to. Just yesterday evening I swam 700 m in my local swimming pool and the same the day before yet today no signs of muscle growth in upper arms and chest. This was something I used to do every morning and would get that thickened feeling in muscle groups very easily (along with increased appetite). Someone with whom I spoke descibed this as possible loss of nerve innervation but I am not sure. Am seeing a psychiatrist soon who will be doing a quantitative EEG to get better idea of does this also trying to get into research study using either direct current stimulation or transcranial magnetic stimualtion to treat depression. Could these help or would the newer magnetic seizure therapy be of more help. I have recently had a magnetic resonance spectroscopy done which showed possible neuronal loss in basal ganglia of area high in dopamine...would one of the three above treatments be more suited given the MRS result? Any explantion in particular about why my muscles are no longer responding (growing) in response to weight training? Could any of the electrical treatments aid in fixing this problem? Would greatly appreciate your feedback. Cordially yours, Anthony Glass
Posted by: Anthony 3/25/2006 10:10:35 AM

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