Dr. John Hawkins Named Principal Investigator for Clinical Trial of Non-drug Depression Treatment

Technology capable of reaching deeper brain areas may provide relief of symptoms for patients resistant to medication

Cincinnati, Ohio – For more than four million Americans in the United States, the symptoms of depression are not relieved by the use of antidepressant medications. This class of depression falls into one of two categories, treatment resistant depression (TRD)or treatment intolerant depression (TID). The TRD group often tries and fails several different types of medications – either alone or in combination – while the TID group has medication side effects so debilitating that they cannot tolerate the treatment.

For these patients, an entirely new type of treatment is being studied at the Lindner Center of HOPE, led by John Hawkins, M.D., chief of psychiatry at the center. The technology, called multicoil repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or simply TMS, is a non-medication, non-systemic and non-invasive approach to treating depression.

“TMS offers patients that either do not respond to, or cannot tolerate medication, a new treatment option,” said Dr. Hawkins. “Our clinic is currently studying a new approach to this technology and we are hopeful that it will provide relief for these patients that have been suffering from depression in some cases for several years.”

Depression is thought to occur because of less than optimalchemical activity in the brain. TheTMS treatment currently under study by Dr. Hawkins and his team uses multiple magnetic fields, generated by coils placed on a patient’s scalp, to stimulate specific brain regions both on the surface and in deeper regions of the brain. This research is important in understanding whether TMS treatment restores normal brain chemical activity, thereby reducing the symptoms of depression. To date, more than 100 patients have been studied using this approach without the occurrence of serious side effects related to the device.

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyable, a decrease in energy, feelings of low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite and difficultyin concentrating.1 Depression often comes with symptoms of anxiety and these problems can become chronic, substantially impairing the ability of an individual to take care of everyday responsibilities.  On a global scale, depression affects more than 350 million people and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.2

To find out more information about the TMS study at Lindner Center of HOPE contact 513-536-0712 or visit http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01909232.

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1Marcus, M. et al. Depression: A Global Public Health Concern. World Health Organization 2012, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/who_paper_depression_wfmh_2012.pdf.Accessed 04.6.2013.

2Marcus, M. et al.

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