Patients benefiting from new procedure to treat depression

Published: May. 22, 2018 at 12:30 AM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2018 at 4:32 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Some people suffering from depression are finding hope in a procedure now being performed at Willis-Knighton Rehabilitation Institute.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a treatment that has been gaining popularity over the past few years, differs from traditional medications and talk therapy.

TMS treatments are administered daily in an office for about four to six weeks.

"This is a brain stimulation technique that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate electrical activity of the brain, the part of the brain we think is involved in depression," explained Dr. Jason Broussard, of the institute's Center for Mental Wellness.

Doctors map the brain's primary motor strip to find the part associated with mood and depression and determine how strong of a pulse to use.

Approved by the FDA in 2008, Willis-Knighton was the first health care provider in North Louisiana to offer TMS.

In the year since, about a dozen patients in the ArkLaTex have benefited from the noninvasive procedure.

About 16 million adults in the U.S. have had at least one major depressive episode.

Marie Crowell says she has suffered from depression for more than 20 years.

"I used to suffer from what I call the roller coaster effect of being depressed, highs and the lows."

She's tried several types of medications.

Then her treatment journey led her to try TMS.

"At that point, I was willing to try."

The procedure has fewer side effects than medications, Broussard said.

"Most patients have gotten better, around 70 percent. These are patients that have not done well on medications."

Crowell says it's helped her control her depression and live a happier life.

"It is a game changer. It's a life changer."

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