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AUB to introduce alternative magnetic depression treatment.

Summary: The American University of Beirut Medical Center is planning to offer magnetic brain therapy as treatment for depression.

BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut Medical Center is planning to offer magnetic brain therapy as treatment for depression, which affects hundreds of thousands of people in the country each year, according to a statement Wednesday.

The treatment involves using magnetic waves to stimulate specific areas of the brain to improve mental health, the spokeswoman said. AUBMC said it would become the first hospital in the Middle East to offer the treatment.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, or TMS, is intended to provide an affordable, side-effect-free treatment for depression instead of the traditional drug therapies, which can have side effects and be costly. The therapy is expected to open up depression treatment to low-income individuals who can't afford the usual care, as well as pregnant women who are unable to take pharmaceuticals prescribed for depression.

Ziad Nahas, the doctor who spearheaded efforts to bring the treatment to Lebanon, said that over 600,000 adults in the country are affected by depression every year.

He said scientists expect depression to be the second leading disability in the world by 2020.

Nahas said he would begin testing the treatment among adolescents to see if he can expand the range of people able to take advantage of the therapy.

TMS therapy has been approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration after 15 years of testing, according to the AUB Medical Center spokeswoman.

Many scientists say continued study iss needed to determine the treatment's ability to treat depression over the long term.

Copyright 2012, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Jun 7, 2012
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