Article  Magnetic stimulation depression treatment reverses “backwards” brain signals

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EXCERPTS: Stanford researchers have discovered that certain brain signals actually flow the wrong way in people with treatment-resistant depression — and that magnets can correct the misdirection and help patients feel better.

[...] While most people living with depression can find some relief with medications, approximately 84 million people globally have treatment-resistant depression, meaning they still don’t feel better even after trying multiple antidepressants.

But about 50% of people with treatment-resistant depression do respond to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

[...] As expected, in the brains of people without depression, signals traveled from the physical sensation area to the emotional area.

“You could think of it as the anterior cingulate cortex receiving this information about the body — like heart rate or temperature — and then deciding how to feel on the basis of all these signals,” explained Mitra.

In 75% of the people with depression, however, some of the signals flowed the opposite way, and the more severe a person’s depression, the greater the proportion of wrong-way signals.

“It’s almost as if you’d already decided how you were going to feel, and then everything you were sensing was filtered through that,” said Mitra. “The mood has become primary.”

[...] Within 3 days of finishing the TMS treatment, the reversed signals were flowing in the right direction, and patients were reporting an improvement in their mood... (MORE - missing details)


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