Positive Results for Magnetic Stimulation

Maybe it's not pseudoscience after all. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a technique that stimulates brain activity through externally-delivered magnetic pulses, has been alternately hailed and written-off for years, showing promise in some studies while proving ineffective in others.

Lately, though, scientists at several major universities have been saying that the technology is finally refined enough to start making a difference, and a new study to be published in Biological Psychiatry suggests they might be right. In a multi-center trial, 301 medication-free but severely depressed patients received either real or sham TMS for 4-6 weeks. The researchers report that side effects were minimal, and TMS proved to be an effective treatment—with the real TMS proving significantly more effective than the placebo version.—Gregory Mone