Magnetic seizure therapy (MST) involves the induction of a seizure by applying magnetic stimulation to the brain. The first MST seizure was induced in 1998. MST is being investigated as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in order to find a beneficial treatment for depression, psychosis and obsessive-compulsive disorder with fewer cognitive side effects.
How does Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST) work?
In MST, high intensity magnetic field pulses are delivered through a magnetic coil. Rapidly alternating strong magnetic field pulses pass freely into a focused area of the brain and create a seizure. Stimulation is limited to a focused area in the brain and, therefore, has minimal effect on the surrounding brain tissue. This results in minimal cognitive side effects. MST produces an increase in cerebral blood flow to the regions of the brain responsible for depressive symptoms.
An anesthesiologist will assess if you are medically stable to have anesthesia. The number of treatment sessions will vary depending upon your response and the study you are involved in. In general, a treatment course can be as long as 15 to 24 treatments.
Who can Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST) benefit?
MST is only provided as part of a research study. Therefore, you must meet the study criteria in order to receive MST. The chance to be part of the clinical trial and receive MST is offered to those experiencing symptoms of depression, schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Risk of Side Effects
Common effects after MST are headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, muscle aches and fatigue. These may be caused by the anesthetic, the MST or not having anything to eat or drink for a long time.