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NHS clinic to offer depression magnet therapy

A therapy using magnets to treat severe depression is available on the NHS in the West for the first time.

Wellsprings clinic in Taunton can now deliver the repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment (rTMS) to NHS patients through a referral.

During a session, a strong magnetic field is used to stimulate or inhibit different parts of the brain.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said it had "no major safety concerns" for the therapy.

Mark Rickman, 60, from Dartmoor deals with bipolar and depression and said rTMS has had a positive impact on him.

Mr Rickman previously tried Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), where electric shocks cause a brief surge of electrical activity in the brain, but said it was "debilitating" compared to rTMS.

NICE cleared rTMS for use in 2015, for people who had not responded well to antidepressants, and had "no major concerns" about the therapy.

The main side effects were said to be headaches, and patients at risk of seizures are screened.

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Source: BBC News, 18 May 2023


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