ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
CAREGIVING
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
EYE CARE, VISION
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Barefoot Best for Running?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Natural Therapies for Menopause
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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