TMS: Fighting Depression by Targeting the Brain’s Wiring

June 15, 2017

Doctors Are Now Fighting Depression by Targeting the Brain’s Wiring, Not Its Chemical Balance

Depression is becoming an epidemic that is damaging individuals, society, and the economy. Its has become the leading source of disability and of ill health in the U.S. It affects more than 15 million adults in total, including 1.5 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 18 in a given year. Depression is especially on the rise in young people, with its rates in teenage girls jumping by 37 percent over the last decade.

Although the standard treatment for depression is medication, scientists have recently discovered the physical seat of depression in the brain, as well as the particular genes that cause it. This has led to exploration in treatment for depression as a physiological issue, not a chemical one.

Ian Cook, director of the UCLA Depression Research and Clinic Program, said in a UCLA press release that they “are actually changing how the brain circuits are arranged, how they talk to each other” (with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).

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