The Archives of General Psychiatry just published a paper from the Department of Psychiatry at University of Iowa about using TMS to treat vascular-related depression. The results were pretty impressive.
Post-stroke depression is a well-known phenomenon, with a large percentage of people that have suffered a stroke showing signs and symptoms of depression. It seems that there is evidence that people with proven vascular disease (one of the side effects of uncontrolled diabetes/cholesterol/hypertension/smoking) have a higher incidence of depression.
These researchers took 90+ patients, with proven vascular disease and depression, and took them off of antidepressants. The divided them into two groups: sham and treatment groups. The treatment group got 12,000 pulses of TMS and the sham got, well, sham treatment with a fake coil. The treatment group a 33% drop on a depression scale while the sham group had a 14% drop, an appropriate placebo effect. The response rate in the placebo group was just under 7% while the response rate in the treatment group was 33%.
In the second experiment the treatment group got 18,000 pulses which resulted in a 42% drop in depression score while the sham group dropped 17%.
Once again, some interesting results that make you scratch your head and wonder if using a three tesla electromagnetic impulse could provide relief of depressive symptoms on par with antidepressants.....