SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) — When medications no longer work for fighting depression, some doctors are turning to another treatment which is magnetic waves from a helmet. Every 20 seconds Patricia Minor of Dunbar feels magnetic waves through a helmet she wears for a treatment.
"Just talking about it I was afraid of it because of you know them going to do something to my brain," said Minor. The treatment is called Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and Patricia says she can see a difference. "My depression is gone. My anxiety is gone. I don't have any panic attacks, and I am really more stable on my feet because I was having problems even walking," said Minor.
"It really isn't sci-fi. This is very scientific," said Doctor Russ Voltin, a psychiatrist who administers the Deep TMS treatments. He says the helmet has a powerful magnet similar to an MRI. "We're able to create a mild electrical field beneath that magnet and that mild electrical field is able to excite and kind of correct the neurons in the brain in the area that is linked to depression," said Dr. Voltin.
"We've seen sometimes nothing short of miraculous responses," said Doctor Dan Thistlethweit, a psychiatrist who also uses Deep TMS treatments. He won't forget meeting a man during the holidays whose wife was getting helmet treatments. "He came to me and said you don't know this but you have been treating my wife for depression and this was the best Christmas," said Dr. Thistlethweit.