People with major depression that doesn't respond to medication may get relief from a therapy that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the cortex, the Wall Street Journal reports. In a clinical trial, transcranial magnetic stimulation worked in about a quarter of patients—about twice the success rate of patients on a placebo.
It led to “improvement in mood, sleep, appetite, energy level, and a restoration of hopefulness and self-esteem,” says a psychiatrist. Though TMS doesn't have the sexual and weight-gain side effects of some drugs, it’s not recommended until patients have tried more than one antidepressant. But with the treatment, “we're standing at the threshold of a new family of therapeutic interventions," the psychiatrist adds.