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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Psychiatrist uses magnets to treat depression

Psychiatrist uses magnets to treat depression
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, dr. calvin walk
John Moden of Swartz receives Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy Tuesday from TMS coordinator Robin Walker at the office of Dr. Calvin Walker in Monroe. TMS is used to treat patients who suffer from depression and aren't responding to medication. / Dacia Idom/The News-Star
After trying a number of different medications, John Moden said nothing seemed to be effectively
treating his depression.
Moden, of Swartz, said he would feel anxious and stressed all the time, making it hard for him to sleep at night and to fully appreciate life.
That was until he tried Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, which uses highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate key neurons in the brain.
“Now I’m more relaxed, and once you can relax, you see the need to smell the flowers,” he said. “You can enjoy various things you wouldn’t have before.”
With TMS, an electromagnetic coil is placed against a person’s scalp near their forehead. The electromagnet creates electric currents that stimulate the part of the brain involved in mood control and depression. TMS was approved by the Food and Drug administration in 2008.

Moden, who is in remission, underwent 30 TMS treatment sessions at the office of Dr. Calvin Walker, a psychiatrist in Monroe.
Walker said he is the only doctor in northeastern Louisiana using a TMS machine, which he has had for less than two years and has used to treat 12 patients.
He said 11 of the 12 patients who underwent TMS went into complete remission from their depression. The other patient relapsed and had to continue with the treatments, he said.
“We’re very pleased with the response we’ve had with the patients we’ve had the opportunity to help,” Walker said.

TMS is meant to be used on patients with unipolar depression for whom medications have not worked, Walker said.
“Medicine is still important. We don’t do the TMS all by itself. We try to maybe cut down the medicine while they undergo the treatment,” he said. “If you use TMS with the medicine, in my opinion, it doubles the chance that they’ll get better.”
Patients will undergo 30 TMS treatment sessions, with each session lasting about 40 minutes. The treatments start out five times a week and then taper off to about twice a week after the first few weeks, Walker said.
He said patients can start seeing results after the first two to three weeks.
“I think it’s wonderful. We’ve had very good results,” he said. “We’re hoping we can help more people.”
John Moden’s wife, Margie Moden, said she has seen remarkable improvement in her husband’s health since undergoing TMS.
“He enjoys life more,” she said. “It was a very good decision. You can’t put a price tag on your quality of life.”

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