Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Suicide Prevention
Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.
Nolan Williams, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, presents as part of the 2022 Suicide-Focused Assessment and Treatment: An Update for Professionals course.
Clinical Utilization of TMS
In his work, Williams has combined accelerated theta bursts with energy to guide the technology’s application magnet. In this talk, he describes a study he is starting to conduct on the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in suicide prevention.
Watch now to learn more about:
- Why there is a need to develop rapid treatments for suicidal patients
- What rTMS is and how it evolved
- How researchers are refining rTMS treatment
“Oral antidepressants haven’t been borne out to affect suicidal ideation, and all of these drugs are slow,” Williams states. “We’re transitioning into a period of time in which the expectation is that we’re going to be treating folks in a manner of days instead of weeks or months.”
Williams states that rapid treatments are particularly relevant to people who are hospitalized for suicidal depression. There is an increased risk of suicide following a person’s hospitalization for a mood disorder.
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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the only treatment for depression geared towards the inpatient setting, is only available in 10% of U.S. psychiatric hospitals, and only one out of seven patients end up receiving ECT for a variety of reasons. Hospitals, and especially emergency departments, are overcrowded with people who need emergency treatment for suicidal behavior.
“I argue that in the future there may be another solution, one that is more of an engineering solution, that utilizes some of the systems of neuroscience,” Williams says.
Conventional TMS works by using a magnet to generate a current on a specific part of the brain.
A single pulse of a TMS coil does not change the circuitry of the brain. However, repetitive TMS (rTMS), in which the signal is sent over and over again, allows the current to communicate with the brain.