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Researchers Find Reversing Brain Signals Could Treat Depression

Researchers from Stanford Medicine have found that reversing brain signals could effectively treat depression using magnetic pulses. Their remarkable new findings highlight the potential for new and effective treatments for treating various forms of depression in the future, including even the most severe forms.

Image of several brain scans.

For the study, the researchers compared the brains of non-depressed participants versus those with treatment-resistant depression while under several different settings. The depressed group received SNT treatment. However, only twenty-three members of the depressed group received the treatment with the magnetic pulses, while the remaining ten underwent the SNT treatment without the magnetic pulses. This would allow them to see if the magnetic pulses were really making a difference.

Their results are promising. The researchers found that in 75% of the depressed patients, signals in the brain were traveling in the opposite direction than those seen in the non-depressed patients. However, when treated with SNT and the magnetic pulses, the signals began to move down what are considered "normal pathways" of the brain. As this was happening, the patient's depression was also alleviated over the course of seven days.

Nolan Williams, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, stated: "The fMRI data that allows precision treatment with SNT can be used both as a biomarker for depression and a method of personalized targeting to treat its underlying cause." 

Looking to the future, it is hoped that this treatment could help to pave the way for treating depression more effectively, particularly if a patient is struggling with other treatments. However, this isn't the advancement that is being made in the mental health field. In 2022, researchers continued researching magic mushrooms as a way of treating depression, with results looking promising. Likewise, scientists also think magic mushrooms could be used to treat disorders such as anxiety. These are just a few of many potential mental health disorders that could be treated using the drug.

Article Credit -
Stanford Medicine