New Directions: 

The future direction of neuromodulation  therapies are exciting, as many more treatments are coming on the horizon. A new technology called ‘BrainGate Neural Interface System (Cyberkinetics, Foxborough, MA)’ is being used to analyse brain signals and translate those signals into cursor movements, allowing severely motor impaired individuals an alternate ‘pathway’ to control a computer with thought, and offers potential for one day restoring some degree of limb movement. This is truly an interesting field.

‘Since the first applications to the treatment of pain with electrical stimulation, numerous newly developed methods, including direct electrical stimulation and drug infusion . . . have made it possible to develop new, very powerful therapeutic approaches to serious clinical conditions. Every new branch soon produces its own ramifications and neuromodulation looks like a very fast-growing tree.’

– Alim Louis Benabid, MD, PhD, pioneer in developing deep brain stimulation for Parkinsons disease, Clinatec Institute, LETI-Minatec, CEA Grenoble, Grenoble, France1 (Acknowledgement – International Neuromodulation Society).

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation ( TMS): 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a procedure which uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of Depression, and a few other related disorders. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation may be tried when other Depression treatments haven’t worked. It works well. It is a definitive treatment alternative and is considered non invasive.

With TMS, a large electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. The electromagnet used in TMS creates electric currents which stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and Depression. This is well tested in active clinical trials, and considered quite safe.

Unlike vagus nerve stimulation or deep brain stimulation, TMS doesn’t require surgery or implantation of electrodes.  And, unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), it doesn’t cause seizures or requires complete sedation with anesthesia. However, TMS does carry some risks and can cause some side effects. These can be discussed with your treating Doctor at length.

Little preparation is usually required for TMS. TMS is being performed at Belmont Private Hospital, and you will need a GP referral to a Psychiatrist who is skilled in this procedure.

At MARSAI Clinic, we take referral for TMS therapy through GPs or colleague Psychiatrists.  This treatment is usually provided as an inpatient only. It may take three to four weeks’ inpatient treatment to obtain the full effect of the therapy. Hence, access to full private health insurance is a necessary imperative. Please contact us for more information.

(Acknowledgement: Professor Colleen Loo and UNSW).


Resources and Links: