Synchronized Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Study

Original Article: Positive Outcomes with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Major Depression

Study the Article was Based on: Efficacy and Safety of Low-field Synchronized Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Treatment of Major Depression

This was a study done on a new version of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This new version is called Synchronized Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation because the magnetic waves are tuned into the alpha rhythm of the brain.

There were two groups in this study, placebo and treatment group. Within each group were a mix of depression treatment resistant patients and patients who had never been treated before for depression. Only 8% of the placebo group reported any improvement in depression symptoms, whereas 35% of the treatment group did.

Furthermore (and this is the exciting part) the participants who hadn’t had success with other treatments were more likely to see positive results than the patients who had never been treated before.

I hope this version of TMS gets approved soon by the FDA.

After reading this article, there are a few questions I have regarding TMS which I may address in an upcoming post. How exactly does it work? Why do the magnetic waves affect the brain? Why is it successful? What are the differences between the different brain waves? Do health insurances cover the FDA approved version of it? How long do the positive effects last? Is there any possibility of negative effects? Compared to Electroshock Therapy, how effective is it?

What do you think of TMS? Comment below and tell me.

The Cause of Higher Suicide Rate Among Substance Abusers


(Originally written in my Tumblr blog July 14, 2015)

I think I have figured out something. Suicides for people that are substance abusers are higher not due to the substance itself but due to lack of social support. Before, I was assuming that the substances themselves altered the user’s personality and made them more vulnerable to attempt suicide. I was wrong, I think.

Truthfully it requires a scientific study to prove or disprove my hypothesis, but after concluding this was true via two sources, I’m pretty sure it would be proven true if submitted to the rigors of scientific empiricism.

One of the risk factors of suicide as laid out by Thomas Joiner is Failed Belongingness. Not only this, but he cited a study done in which alcoholics who were recently separated or lived alone were more likely to commit suicide and another study in which the elevated rate of suicides among heroin addicts were not linked to heroin overdoses.

Combine what Thomas Joiner said with the TED talk concept of the Rat Park study in which rats ignored the heroin laced water if they had a good social life, and the drug policy of Portugal in which addicts are integrated into society and substance abuse drops…

And, it seems pretty clear how I came to the conclusion I did about the true cause of the higher suicide rate for substance abusers.

The sources that led me to these conclusions are as follows:

Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner

and this TED talk called Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong.

So, Depression causes your hippocampus to shrink. Don’t worry though, it’s reversible.

Depression Damages Reigions of the Brain Study Concludes

I came across this article on my facebook feed. For some time now, scientists have known that the hippocampus area of the brain shrinks in connection to depression. However, as this article states, they didn’t understand what came first, the hippocampus shrinkage or depression itself. An egg & chicken or chicken & egg dilemma.

Here are a few images of the brain so you can conceptualize where the hippocampus is.

Pretty neat how each picture showed a different view of the hippocampus, huh?

Going back to talking about the article, it is stating that depression is the culprit, rather than the hippocampus shrinkage.

So, not only did the researchers figure out that the antecedent to the brain shrinkage was depression, they also (happily) have said that once the depression ameliorates, that the shrinkage is reversed. Now, whether the person is able to recover from depression is another issue entirely.

When I finished reading this article, what I felt it lacked was an explanation of how the shrinkage of the hippocampus affected a person. Okay, it affects memory. What kind of memory? Long term? Short term? Eidetic Memory? etc. How would that look if I were to meet someone with depression? It feels as if whoever wrote this article didn’t actually think about this study further than the facts presented. Really, it should have too, beause we are dealing with people here and it’s not like we are all walking around with portable MRI scanners and knowledge about how the structure of the brain should look.

If you would like to share your experiences with memory and depression to give it a more human face, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Hello There

This is my first post in this blog. I have been noticing lately on my Tumblr blog that I have tended towards writing things…long long paragraphs of things. The Tumblr community isn’t interested in this type of format so I hope that the wordpress community is. However, even if it isn’t interested in what I have to say, I will still continue to write in this blog.

The blog I am about to start writing is not a light blog. It’s a heavy blog, meant to make the reader think, and also to help me explore the field of suicidology and depression. Someday, the contents of this blog may become a book. But for now, they will remain written in segments.