Depression is a debilitating mental illness that affects up to one in four people at some point in their lifetime. Currently the majority of individuals diagnosed with depression will be prescribed a course of anti-depressants and may also receive therapy for example cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to address the problem.
Scientists have reported a new type of therapy known as Magnetic Pulse Therapy. The therapy involves passing magnetic pulses through the skull into three main areas of the brain known to be involved in mood regulation; pre-frontal cortex, the ante-cingulate cortex and the limbic system. This process triggers electrical changes within the brain which has reportedly resulted in the alleviation of symptoms of depression.
A team of researchers at the University of California have been examining the efficiency of the therapy. More than 300 patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder were given the Magnetic Pulse Therapy. It was reported that after three sessions, 37 percent of the participants were in ‘remission’.
The therapy was reported to be better than anti-depressant medication as it did not involve taking any drugs which can have negative physical side effects including anxiety, fatigue and sexual dysfunction. However, Magnetic Pulse Therapy emits a magnetic field that has a equivalent strength to that created by an MRI brain scanning machine, as such cells in different brain regions and indeed throughout the body could also be triggered, this could evoke unknown side effects.
Mindfulness mediation has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression and has been found to be particularly beneficial in relapse prevention which has not been investigated in the current study for Magnetic Pulse Therapy.