New targeted, noninvasive treatments for mental illness to combine TMS and ultrasound

Science of Singularity

November 30, 2014

Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation

A new interdisciplinary Stanford University initiative called NeuroCircuit aims to find the specific brain circuits that are responsible for mental-health conditions and then develop ways of noninvasively stimulate those circuits to potentially lead to improved treatments for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“You see things activated in brain images but you can’t tell just by watching what is cause and what is effect,” said Amit Etkin, Neurocircuit co-leader and a Stanford assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “Right now, if a patient with a mental illness goes to see their doctor they would likely be given a medication that goes all over the brain and body. While medications can work well, they do so for only a portion of people and often only partially.”

Etkin has been working with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to map and remotely stimulate parts of the brain. A TMS…

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