» New Brain Stimulation Technique May Provide Rapid Depression Relief – Psych Central News

Brain stimulation treatments are often used to treat depression. However, protocols of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation

Source: psychcentral.com

Brain stimulation treatments are often used to treat depression.

However, protocols of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), often have a delayed onset — similar to depressant medications.

For example, a patient may receive several weeks of regular ECT treatments before a full response is achieved.

As a result, researchers are searching for an antidepressanttreatment that acts to rapidly improve mood.

Low field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) is one such potential new treatment with rapid mood-elevating effects, say researchers at Harvard Medical School and Weill Cornell Medical College.

“LFMS is unlike any current treatment. It uses magnetic fields that are a fraction of the strength but at higher frequency than the electromagnetic fields used in TMS and ECT,” explained first author Dr. Michael Rohan.

The potential antidepressant properties of LFMS were discovered by accident, while researchers were conducting an imaging study in healthy volunteers.

This led Rohan and his colleagues to conduct a preliminary study in which they identified the imaging parameters that seemed to be causing the antidepressant effect.

They then designed and constructed a portable LFMS device, which delivers a low strength, high frequency, electromagnetic field waveform to the brain.

The next step was to test the device in depressed patients, the results of which are published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

A total of 63 currently depressed patients, diagnosed with either major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, participated in the study and were randomized to receive a single 20-minute treatment of real LFMS or sham LFMS, where the device was on but the electromagnetic fields were inactive.

Since neither the patients nor the researchers knew which treatment each person actually received, the true effect of the LFMS could be measured.

An immediate and substantial improvement in mood was observed in the patients who received real LFMS, compared to those who received the sham treatment. There were no reported side effects.

This finding suggests that LFMS may have the potential to provide immediate relief of depressed mood, perhaps even in emergency situations. It also confirms the success of the device’s design.

“The idea that weak electrical stimulation of the brain could produce beneficial effects on depression symptoms is somewhat surprising,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

“Yet the data make a compelling case that this safe approach deserves further study.”

Rohan confirmed that additional research is underway to find the best parameters for LFMS use in the clinical treatment of depression.

Further research will also be necessary to evaluate the effects of multiple compared to single treatments, and how long the antidepressant effects last following treatment.

Source: Elsevier

See on Scoop.itE-mental health: digital, mobile and tele tech for the brain!


Beth Israel launches pilot that lets patients read therapists’ notes | mobihealthnews

Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has launched a pilot in which 700 mental health patients receive access to their therapists’ notes on their laptop or smartphone, according to a must-read report in the New York Times.

“Nationally, the momentum is shifting in favor of transparency in the medical record, but understandable caution and controversy remain when it comes to mental health notes,” lead author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Michael Kahn, wrote in a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article on the pilot.

This pilot is an extension of a rather famous trial that Beth Israel participated in a few years ago, called OpenNotes. In the OpenNotes program, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than 13,500 primary care patients were given access to their physicians’ notes via an online portal and electronic messaging. More than 100 physicians participated in that trial. In the end, close to 11,800 patients opened at least one note during the study, which took place at two other healthcare facilities as well: Geisinger Health System (GHS) in Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center (HMC) in Washington. 

At the time, the study authors explained that a vast majority of the participating patients said they could understand their medical issues more easily, better remember their treatment plans, and prepare for future visits. Patients also found that they felt an increased sense of control.

Since then, more than 2.5 million American patients from several healthcare institutions including MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) have been given access to their medical notes. Still, with the exception of the VA, a release from the researchers explained these institutions do not share notes written by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. The researchers write in the JAMA article that they find these exclusions unnecessary.

“Inviting patients to read what clinicians write about their feelings, thoughts and behaviors does seem different from sharing assessments of their hypertension or diabetes,” Kahn said. “Bringing transparency into mental health feels like entering a minefield, triggering clinicians’ worst fears about sharing notes with patients.”

Some concerns that exist, according to Kahn, include how a patient will react to reading a diagnosis of his personality disorder and what a patient with schizophrenia will feel when a therapist writes that her “firm convictions” are delusional. Still, according to the researchers, allowing patients to read therapist notes might help them address their mental health issues actively and reduce the stigma that they feel around mental health.

Source: mobihealthnews.com

Lead Facebook researcher expresses regret over secret 2012 ‘mood’ study

After the story broke Saturday that Facebook had experimented with the moods of 700,000 of its users, the lead researcher on the project, Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer, sent VentureBeat an email Sunday pointing to his statement on the affair.

The research, which Kramer says was completed in 2012, manipulated the news feeds of only a small percentage of Facebook users, and then only for a small number of posts.

Kramer says the reason for the research was to “investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out.”

Source: venturebeat.com