New targeted, noninvasive treatments for mental illness to combine TMS and ultrasound

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Magnetic and now ultrasound treatments for mental condiitons: we live in interesting times.

Science of Singularity

November 30, 2014


A new interdisciplinary Stanford University initiative called NeuroCircuit aims to find the specific brain circuits that are responsible for mental-health conditions and then develop ways of noninvasively stimulate those circuits to potentially lead to improved treatments for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“You see things activated in brain images but you can’t tell just by watching what is cause and what is effect,” said Amit Etkin, Neurocircuit co-leader and a Stanford assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “Right now, if a patient with a mental illness goes to see their doctor they would likely be given a medication that goes all over the brain and body. While medications can work well, they do so for only a portion of people and often only partially.”

Etkin has been working with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to map and remotely stimulate parts of the brain. A TMS…

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  1. That’s some interesting research there, and I can see where it would have all kinds of applications if they could refine it somewhat. I have no doubt they will. Thanks for the heads-up Greg.


  2. Is this similar to shock therapy?
    Suffering many years of chronic depression /anxiety/bipolar2. Meds your so right thry only have partially worked on myself.
    I would never do anything even similar to a shock therapy but as an adult have learned to somewhat cope. My sadness is for my young teenager who suffers a well.
    Life is not the same living with Mental Illness. There’s no cure and most moments are struggles. To see my son suffer makes my heart suffer even more but I fight everyday for his sanity.
    Thanks for the follow. I am not a very good writer so it means a lot to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ECT involves inducing a seizure. TMS is much less dramatic: it involves exposing parts of the brain to a magnetic field: no anesthesia needed. Ultrasound remains completely experimental as far as I know. Such approaches are important because they often help people for whom nothing else has worked.

      Thanks for reaching out! Writing is like anything: practic, practice, practice! And blogging involves far more than writing. It’s communication, building connections, community. Have fun with it: no more “I’m not very good,” OK?

      Liked by 1 person

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