ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
CANCER
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
Eat Light - Live Longer
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression

Using magnets to stimulate the brain may ease depression in people who have not found relief from antidepressants, new research has found.

"We have settled a fundamental question about [transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS] therapy, which is: 'Does it work?'" said the study's lead author, Dr. Mark George, a professor of psychiatry, radiology and neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina. "The answer is 'yes.'"

The researchers administered the magnet therapy to half of a group of 190 adults who had been depressed for at least three months, but not longer than five years, and who had taken medication for depression but were not helped. The others were given a sham treatment -- simulated magnet therapy that was mostly indistinguishable from the real thing, the researchers said.

After three weeks, about 14 percent of those receiving magnet therapy were no longer depressed, compared with 5 percent who were getting the fake treatment.

The researchers continued the magnet treatment for three more weeks for those who were still depressed and also offered the real treatment to participants who'd gotten the sham treatment.

After that period, about 30 percent were no longer depressed, the researchers said.

"In a rigorous, industry-free multisite trial with a convincing sham, we found unambiguously that TMS worked better than the sham. It's watershed," George stated.

The findings are published in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Psychiatrists have been interested in the possibilities of treating depression with magnet therapy for more than a decade, the experts said. Magnets are believed to work by creating electrical currents in the nerve cells in the left prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved with regulating mood. The current may jump-start the area, which has been shown to be underactive in people who are depressed, George said.

But testing magnet therapy has been difficult. "Double-blind" studies, in which neither the researchers nor participants know who is getting the real treatment and who is getting the fake, have been difficult to carry out.

The current study overcame that by creating an elaborate sham. During magnet therapy, participants were painlessly zapped by a pulsing electromagnetic coil 3,000 times over 37 minutes. The current created a head-tapping sensation that some people said reminded them of a woodpecker, George said.

The coil, which is aimed at the brain area to be stimulated, creates a magnetic field that passes through the skin and skull, inducing an electrical current in the brain.

Participants receiving the sham treatment felt the same head-tapping, but a metal insert below the magnet blocked the magnetic field from entering the brain while electrodes on the scalp delivered the tapping sensation.

Using electrical current to treat brain disorders has been around in some form since the 1940s and 1950s, said Tony Tang, an adjunct professor in the psychology department at Northwestern University. However, electroconvulsive, or electroshock, therapy can induce seizures, and some studies showed it might cause memory loss and brain damage. Though effective in some people, electric shock was viewed with suspicion by the public, and today is used only as a last resort, Tang said.

Magnet therapy is essentially a much gentler, less invasive form of electric shock therapy, Tang said.

"Transcranial magnet therapy is one of the most exciting new developments in our field," Tang said. "There are new drugs coming out every year, but they are all fairly similar to each other, and we don't see much difference in efficacy. With TMS, the mechanism is completely different. It's a very, very safe and gentle, noninvasive way to do electric shock therapy."

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of a device used for magnet therapy to treat depression that is considered mildly resistant to treatment, according to background information on the study provided by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study.

The next step, the researchers said, is to fine-tune the treatment to determine if higher levels of magnetic stimulation or changing the location of the magnetic coil might be even more effective or if magnet therapy might work best in conjunction with medications.

In the study, the only significant side effects were headaches and mild discomfort at the stimulation site. Most participants remained depression-free for several months after treatment stopped, according to the study.

SOURCES: Mark George, M.D., professor, psychiatry, radiology and neuroscience, and director, Brain Stimulation Laboratory, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.; Tony Tang, Ph.D., adjunct professor, department of psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; May 2010, Archives of General Psychiatry Published on: May 03, 2010