Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Offers First Depression Treatment Without Side Effects


UPDATED: Tuesday February 26, 2013 9:21 PM

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the first hospital in the area to offer a novel treatment for depression, with no drug side effects.

For Scott Sutliff, the new treatment, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, was a blessing.

Sutliff said he has battled depression since childhood.

“And it has become worse over time,” he said.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, like it sounds, works with magnets on the scalp.

“The brain is like an electrical device,” said Dr. James Young, a psychiatrist with OSU. “It has currents. It has electricity. So, we can use a magnetic field to alter the current of the electricity in different parts of the brain.”

Young said that the therapy targets the symptoms of depression. There are no side effects, because there are no drugs.

Therapy lasts for 37 minutes, five days a week for about a month.

Sutliff said that at first, he though the new treatment sounded like a “bit of a stretch.”

But after his first treatment, he said he saw a difference – the gray haze around his world was gone.

“Things somehow seemed brighter outside,” Sutliff said. “Just like you were seeing more of the world.”

Young said he hoped that doctors can learn about the technique.

“My hope is that over the years, as we learn more about this technique, that we refine it and we get better at it,” Young said.

Currently, a psychiatrist prescribes TMS, after patients have tried at least one anti-depressant medication.

TMS has been tested as a treatment for migraine headaches.

Young said that the therapy also is being researched as possible treatments for tinnitus and schizophrenia.

One other local medical practice also offers the treatment.

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