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Magnetic Helmet Helps Treat Depression

Researchers in Israel have developed a non-invasive way to treat brain disorders.

Yi Chen
Yi Chen on January 11, 2013. @yiiee


Just this week, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a helmet that can help patients suffering from depression. The device, called Brainsway, uses technology known as Transcranial Magnet Stimulation (TMS), and involves electromagnetic coils placed inside the headgear.

The magnetic helmet works by zapping the scalp with electric pulses, which can stimulate specific areas of the brain. Each treatment session lasts about 15 to 30 minutes, and are repeated over several weeks.

Brainsway-patient-wearing-the-magnetic-helmet

The company explains on its website how the technology works:

When the induced field is above a certain threshold, and is directed in an appropriate orientation relative to the brain’s neuronal pathways, localized axonal depolarizations are produced, thus activating the neurons in the relevant brain structure.

The Israeli company has an exclusive license for the technology from the National Institutes of Health. Clinical trials are currently underway and patients report no side effects, only feeling a slight buzzing sensation after each session.

This non-invasive treatment could also be used for patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s diseases, and PTSD.

Brainsway

 

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