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Walter Reed First Military Hospital to Use Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Treat Depression
Date:2/24/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Walter Reed Army Medical Center treated its first behavioral health patient yesterday with a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy device. Walter Reed is the first DoD facility to use this technology and one of the first U.S. facilities so far - joining others such as Brown University, Columbia University and Mayo-Rochester - with the equipment and capability.

A TMS Therapy device was approved by the FDA last October to treat depressed patients who had not adequately benefited from prior antidepressant medication. TMS treatment does not require medication, surgery, sedation, or anesthesia. During use, a patient is seated in what resembles a dental chair. The treating psychiatrist places a treatment coil on the patient's head from which short pulses of MRI-strength magnetic fields are aimed at the structures in the brain involved in mood regulation. A treatment session lasts about 40 minutes, and patients usually receive 20 to 30 sessions over a 4 to 6 week period. Patients are awake and alert, and return to normal activities after each session.

Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Grammer, Chief of Inpatient Psychiatry at Walter Reed, initiated the purchase of this equipment in line with expanding the military's care options for its beneficiaries. "Having TMS demonstrates the Military's willingness to bring cutting edge technology and care to the best patients in the world, our Warriors," Dr. Grammer said. "Most importantly, we now have a new option to treat patients who have not responded to medications that has minimal side-effects and a large margin of safety."

About Walter Reed Army Medical Center (www.wramc.army.mil)

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