The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

December 14, 2013

TMS: An alternative treatment for depression

DEAR DR. ROACH: “TMS” stands for “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” and is done for four to five weeks daily and takes about 30 to 40 minutes per treatment in the doctor’s office, with the doctor overseeing it and a trained technician doing the treatment.

Do you know how successful this newest noninvasive treatment for depression is (for those who cannot tolerate antidepressant side effects, or for whom these medications just don’t work)? Is it, to your knowledge, successful, and advised for older people too? It’s been successful for some, according to the research I’ve done, but I wanted to get your input.

I understand that it is not covered yet by Medicare, so for those whose primary is Medicare, that means the secondary doesn’t cover it, either!

It is being recognized in some areas and gradually being covered by some insurance plans. I just wondered if you have had any patients who have had the treatment and if you feel it is a viable alternative treatment for the abovementioned health issues? — J.S.C.

ANSWER: I had not heard of this treatment before your letter, and was surprised to find that there is good evidence to support its use. It is more effective than placebo treatment, but only about 25 percent of people — all of whom had poor response to at least one medication — had a good response to treatment. The major side effect in treatment is seizures, but only in less than 1 percent of cases.

Due to differences in brain structure, the elderly may require a higher intensity of magnetic stimulation.

This treatment appears to be a useful alternative therapy. However, other antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy and especially non-pharmacologic treatments such as cognitive behavioral techniques may be effective in a larger number of people than TMS.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 76 and have been diagnosed with a condition called Wenckebach phenomena — an irregular heartbeat. For most of my life, I have exercised frequently and have been in excellent health. I have run 22 marathons. My heart rate is in the low 60s, and I take no beta blockers. The condition is asymptomatic and does not seem to affect my exercise. After consultation with my cardiologist, he determined that I do not need a pacemaker. What is my prognosis for the future? — J.S.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Center warns people of fertilizer dangers IOWA CITY (AP) -- Doctors at the University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center are worried by a spike in injuries from anhydrous ammonia, a chemical used to fertilize corn crops. The center usually sees one or two cases of burns in a year, but this spring

    April 23, 2014

  • New Americans turn to goats to address food demand COLCHESTER, Vt. -- A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock. The half dozen kids -- that is, baby goats --

    April 22, 2014

  • FDA Electronic Cigarettes-3 [Duplicate] Industry awaits federal regulation RICHMOND, Va. -- Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. They're about to find out what federal regulators have to say about the popular devices. The Food and Drug Administration will propo

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Kids get codeine in ER despite risks, guidelines

    Despite recommended limits on codeine use in children, the potent painkiller is prescribed for children in at least half a million emergency room visits each year, a study suggests.

    Use of the drug in that setting is hardly rampant — just 3 percent of kids' ER visits resulted in a codeine prescription in 2010, the 10-year study found. But with more than 25 million ER visits by children each year, the authors say far too many kids are getting the drug when better options are available.

    April 21, 2014

  • USDA orders farms to report pig virus infections MILWAUKEE -- Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.