Scientists in Vancouver and Toronto have successfully found a new way to treat depression. It’s with magnetic pulses around the brain, but there is one issue – the treatment is not covered under the Medical Services Plan.
The treatment is called rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation), and it is effective in treating certain types of depression that cannot be treated with medications. It’s non-invasive and it only involves placing a coil-like machine on top of the patient’s head. The device delivers magnetic pulses to the brain and after multiple sessions, the treatment is effective.
Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, the principal investigator for the study at UBC and a psychiatrist, has stated that after the treatment, the patients experience little or no symptoms of depression:
“We see that the mood improves, the ability to enjoy life gets better, sleep and appetite gets better, and there is a very significant is the decrease in suicidal ideation.”
Suicidal Thoughts Disappeared in 40% of the Patients
The latest study was conducted in April when the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and UBS found that an effective session of treatment with rTMS would last for just three minutes.
On 3 May, a new study conducted at CAMH showed that after the treatment with rTMS, 40% of the people didn’t have suicidal thoughts anymore.
But MSP doesn’t yet cover the treatment, so the full plan would cost a person a total of $750, each session being about 30$. There are some clinics in Vancouver and a clinic at the Mood Disorders Association of B.C.
Vila-Rodriguez has made a request with the Doctors of BC for the treatment to be included in the provincial plan, but they rejected it. In Quebec and Saskatchewan, this treatment is covered. He hopes the latest studies will change their minds:
“I would hope this new robust evidence would provide some scientific rationale to reconsider that position.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.