Magnet Therapy for Hard-to-Treat Depression

Magnetic therapy for treating depression.
A treatment for individuals suffering from serious depression, which utilizes magnetic pulses to stimulate particular regions of the brain, appears to also work over extended periods of time when used in conjunction with antidepressants.  This type of treatment has been previously shown to be able to help relieve acute symptoms of depression for shorter periods,

"We wanted to address the question of whether the benefit of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) can be sustained over a reasonable time," said Dr. Philip Janicak, the leader of the research study, who is a professor of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. "Based on this trial, the answer is yes."

Although this one study is far too small to provide definitive and absolute results, it does indicate that the beneficial effects of TMS can be sustained for a period of over 6 months, and the treatment can be done safely.  While using TMS in conjunction with antidepressant medications, there were no increased associated risks.

The study was published in the October 2010 issue of Brain Stimulation.

The scientific researchers grouped and organized 301 people who had been previously diagnosed with depression into two main groups: those who would be receiving either real or fake magnetic therapy for a period of about 6 weeks. The fake, or placebo, treatments had a similar feel to the real one.

The 142 participants who received and had a good response to the actual magnetic therapy treatments then went on to enter a 21 day transitional phase. During this phase, the participants were tapered off of the TMS treatments and then began a regimen of prescribed anti-depressant medications.

Of those 142 patients, 121 of them (or about 85%) completed the transitional phase of the treatment without suffering a relapse, and 99 of the participants agreed to enter a 24 week, follow-up study.

During this 24 week period, only 10 of the 99 participants (or about 10%) had a relapse of symptoms. Of the 38 participants who did experience a worsening of symptoms, which required additional TMS treatments, 32 of them (84%) experienced improvement and avoided having further relapses. At the end of the day, 75% of the study participants had a sustained, and complete positive response to the treatments.

Three Studies Regarding Magnetic Therapy and Arthritis

Following are list three published studies which examined the effects of magnet therapy on arthritic pain. All three of these studies showed that magnetic therapy may help with reducing pain caused by arthritis.

Study 1: Conducted by the Division for Research and Education at Harvard Medical School regarding the effects of magnet therapy on osteoarthritis of the knee. Study participants were exposed to about four hours of magnet therapy in a controlled environment. Additionally, the participants were required to wear a magnetic support over the knee each day for 6 hours. The study took place over a six week period. At the end of the study, pain was shown to have lessened after the four hour magnet therapy treatment. Also, participants who wore the magnetic device over their arthritic knee had a reduction in pain at the conclusion of the study.

Study 2: Study conducted by the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Texas Medical Branch. The goal of the trial was to determine the effects of magnet therapy on degenerative joint diseases affecting the knee, specifically regardingpain levels and joint function. The study was conducted through a two week period during which the participants wore magnetic devices over their arthritic knee. At the end of the study, the participants indicated a reduction in the pain in the knee, as well as an an increase in knee function.

Study 3: The study was conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical School. The goal was to ascertain how effective magnet therapy was for treating rheumatoid arthritis of the knee. The study lasted for a one week period during which the participants taped medical magnets to the affected knee. At the end of this study, the participants expressed a reduction in the pain in their knees affected by arthritis.