Novel Service for Treatment-Resistant Depression Launches at McLean Hospital

March 14, 2024

With a commitment to caring for individuals with complex behavioral and mental health conditions, McLean Hospital recently launched an accelerated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) program that reduces the amount of time it takes for individuals to feel relief from depression.

Typically used to treat individuals living with severe or treatment-resistant depression, TMS uses focused magnetic impulses to noninvasively stimulate the brain in the prefrontal cortex (the region of the brain associated with mood regulation).

“What makes TMS a good option for many people is that it is noninvasive and requires no anesthesia or sedation,” said Paula Bolton, MS, CNP, ANP-BC, program director of McLean’s Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program. “The procedure typically lasts less than an hour. During this time, patients are awake, alert, and comfortable.”

Bolton noted that there are no restrictions on work or other activities before the treatment. Because no medications are administered, there are no systemic effects or cognitive after-effects (memory difficulty or ability to concentrate). Therefore, patients can return immediately to regular activity.

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Illustration of a brain in the center of a maze

Support for individuals who struggle with depression. Call us today at 617.855.2360 to find out if TMS is right for you.

Illustration of a brain in the center of a maze

Building off the success of McLean’s current TMS Service, McLean has launched a new accelerated TMS program. Through this new service, based on a novel TMS protocol cleared by the FDA that has produced 90% remission rates for treatment-resistant depression, patients receive 10 TMS treatments per day for five days (50 total in treatments), rather than daily TMS treatments for six to eight weeks.

“We anticipate that this new service will be transformative for individuals living with treatment-resistant depression, and we are excited to offer this new option to patients, families, and their providers,” said Joshua C. Brown, MD, PhD, medical director of McLean’s TMS Service.

“This new treatment option is the first to deliver personalized TMS intensity at the same energy level observed to activate an individual’s neurons at the cortical site that modulates depression networks for each individual. This novel protocol also selects the cortical target based on each patient’s brain connectivity patterns,” explained Brown, who also directs TMS research for the Division of Depression and Anxiety Disorders at McLean.

According to recent studies, accelerated TMS has shown a remarkable remission rate. In one study, 100% of the 19 patients who reported some baseline suicidal thoughts showed full remission of these thoughts after the 5-day treatment. This benefit lasted until the one-month follow-up, and up to 6 months in a subsequent analysis.

Curious about TMS? Watch our video to learn more about TMS, how it works, and what you might expect at a treatment appointment.

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Accelerated TMS, which is currently available on McLean’s Belmont campus as an outpatient service, will soon also have an overnight component. This will allow patients to stay in a private, well-appointed residential setting during the duration of their treatment.

“We are eager to offer TMS to individuals who would prefer to stay in a quiet and restorative environment during their care, rather than having to travel back and forth or find accommodations nearby,” noted Brown.

“Beyond comfort, the additional benefit of staying overnight with us is the ability to easily access all McLean’s services, as needed, including therapeutic programming for individuals who struggle with treatment-resistant depression.”

Find out if TMS is right for yourself or a loved one. Please call the TMS Service at 617.855.2360.


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