Magnetic coil against depression
An innovative brain stimulation method could replace electroshock therapy in severely depressed patients, which is still stigmatized today. It works comparably well and has fewer side effects.
For about three years, 46-year-old Mr. P. has been suffering from severe depression. Before contacting us, he had tried eight different medications and had undergone psychotherapy. None of that helped him. We are now testing an experimental treatment with him at the University of Bonn, in which a strong magnetic field acts briefly on his brain. We've been investigating whether magnetic convulsion therapy treats depression as well as an older method, electroconvulsive therapy, with fewer side effects.
Mr P is just one of hundreds of thousands of people who could benefit from such treatment. The WHO estimates that around 322 million people worldwide suffer from depression. On average, one in three women and one in five men in Germany will develop depression at least once in their lives. Most of the time it doesn't stay with a single episode, but the disease takes a wave-like course: the patient feels better for a while, then he slides back into a depressive phase. Less than two-thirds of those affected fully recover after treatment with psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs. Doesn't a patient get better after being on two different antidepressants…