New research suggests that repeat stimulation of certain brain regions with magnets can help alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating psychiatric condition that can occur after exposure to life-threatening events, such as military combat or violent personal assault.
A region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex has an “important role in mediating responses to stressful situations,” Dr. Hagit Cohen and colleagues from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel note in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
In an earlier study, two patients with PTSD experienced improvements after treatment with magnetic stimulation, they add.
In the current study, the group evaluated the therapeutic effects of low- and high-frequency magnetic therapy as compared with fake therapy in 24 patients with PTSD.
High-frequency therapy had greater beneficial effects than low-frequency or fake therapy. Patients in the high frequency group also showed far greater reductions in anxiety than did those in the low-frequency group. Several patients in both magnetic therapy groups reported improvements in sleep after being treated.
Based on this small, preliminary study, trials of high-frequency magnetic therapy “may be a promising avenue for further research with PTSD patients,” the authors conclude.
Repeat stimulation of brain regions with magnets helps post-traumatic stress disorder
Repeat stimulation of brain regions with magnets helps post-traumatic stress disorder, this is according to new research carried out in Israel.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition. It is very debilitating. People who have been exposed to dangerous (life threatening) situations can get PTSD.
You can read about this study in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The prefrontal cortex, a region in the brain, has an important role in mediating responses to stressful situations. This is according to Dr. Hagit Cohen and his team,
- University, Negev in Beer
- Sheva, Israel.
Dr. Cohen and his colleagues had found that two of their patients who had treatment with magnetic stimulation experienced improvements. The patients had PTSD.
Dr. Cohen and his team are studying to see what the effects of low/high frequency magnetic therapy have on people with PTSD. They are working with 24 patients; some will receive the high frequency magnetic stimulation, other will have low frequency magnetic stimulation, while others will receive therapy without the magnetic therapy (placebo).
So far, they have found that patients experience more improvement with high-frequency therapy than low-frequency therapy or the placebo therapy. The high-frequency therapy patients experienced greater reductions in anxiety and slept better.
Dr. Cohen says that this small preliminary study means that trials of high-frequency magnetic therapy could be a promising avenue for further research with PTSD patients.
Am J Psychiatry 161:515-524, March 2004
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
Hagit Cohen, Ph.D., Zeev Kaplan, M.D., Moshe Kotler, M.D., Irena Kouperman, M.D., Regina Moisa, B.N.S., and Nimrod Grisaru, M.D.
OBJECTIVE: The efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the right prefrontal cortex was studied in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions.
METHOD: Twenty-four patients with PTSD were randomly assigned to receive rTMS at low frequency (1 Hz) or high frequency (10 Hz) or sham rTMS in a double-blind design. Treatment was administered in 10 daily sessions over 2 weeks. Severity of PTSD, depression, and anxiety were blindly assessed before, during, and after completion of the treatment protocol.
RESULTS: The 10 daily treatments of 10-Hz rTMS at 80% motor threshold over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex had therapeutic effects on PTSD patients. PTSD core symptoms (reexperiencing, avoidance) markedly improved with this treatment. Moreover, high-frequency rTMS over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex alleviated anxiety symptoms in PTSD patients. CONCLUSIONS: This double-blind, controlled trial suggests that in PTSD patients, 10 daily sessions of right dorsolateral prefrontal rTMS at a frequency of 10 Hz have greater therapeutic effects than slow-frequency or sham stimulation.