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UCSD Offers Magnetic Stimulation for Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression 

January 26, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
UCSD Offers Magnetic Stimulation for Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression 

The University of California San Diego Health now offers a new treatment for patients with treatment-resistant depression, called transcranial magnetic stimulation.

TMS is a treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stimulate nerve cells in areas of the brain associated with major depression. The treatment involves hand-held coils that apply a series of magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

This causes neurons in the brain to fire in a synchronous way that results in neuroplasticity, or a rewiring of the brain. 

The treatment usually involves a series of five sessions of TMS a week for four to six weeks, with each session lasting 60 minutes. 



UCSD Health said about 90% of patients experience few or no side effects from the treatment. Consideration for treatment will depend on a patient’s insurance carrier and whether the patient can provide proof that previous depression medications and treatments were not effective.

About one-third to one-half of patients with treatment-resistant depression found they were free of symptoms after receiving treatment at the TMS clinic. 


In the future, UCSD Health will look to create an accelerated treatment trial program to shorten the treatment period.

Alexa can be reached at [email protected] 

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