Magnetic treatment could help depression symptoms


SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) - About 18 percent of people will experience depression in their lifetime, and about a third won't get better with medication.  But there's a treatment in the Valley that may offer a glimmer of hope for those who can't see a light at the end of the tunnel.

It may sound intimidating to think of a magnetic pulse going through your brain, but it's helped one Valley man get out of bed and on with his life.

"I was having trouble getting through a day of work without wanting to go home and jump in bed," said Jim Kline.

He said he's struggled with depression nearly all of his adult life.

"I've been on medication for five, six years and nothing's really helped," Kline said.

Last fall, he came to Dr. Jim Schulte's office in Scottsdale, looking for an alternative treatment. He found TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation. Schulte tapes his head to the chair to keep it in place, and activates a magnetic pulse that targets the area of the brain believed to control mood.

"Sending a magnetic stimulation into the brain in the right spot for the right duration can have an impact on depression," Schulte said.

He said the 30-minute treatment has the same effect as antidepressant pills, stimulating the neurotransmitters like seratonin and dopamine believed to be associated with depression.

"We surmise that because we're getting a similar biological reaction, that there is an increase in those three major neurotransmitters from the TMS," Schulte said.

Kline said after seeing Schulte five days a week for six weeks, he feels like a new person.

"I'd be home sleeping right now," Kline said.

TMS is FDA approved, and some insurances are starting to cover it. But does have a risk of some side effects, like headaches.