July 15, 2024

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Stanford neuromodulation therapy: 80% relief for patients with severe depression after 5 days

Stanford neuromodulation therapy: 80% relief for patients with severe depression after 5 days


Stanford neuromodulation therapy: 80% relief for patients with severe depression after 5 days.

80% relief for patients with severe depression after 5 days! New breakthrough in Stanford neuromodulation therapy.

“I have been suffering from depression all my life. Although I have been working, it is too difficult.” Tommy Van Brocklin is a depression patient.

She has been suffering from depression since she was 15 years old and is now 60 years old.


During this period of illness, Tommy has been taking antidepressant medication (paroxetine). Unfortunately, after 10 years of taking the medication, the medication gradually ceased to work for her.

During her misery and suicide, Tommy tried many other drugs, but in the end to no avail.


Until Tommy tried Stanford Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT), her condition ushered in a major turnaround.


“I slept better, I completely stopped drinking, I played the guitar again, and I enjoyed walking the dog… My life has changed drastically. Now I am positive and optimistic and love life.” Tommy chats Own change.


Stanford neuromodulation therapy: 80% relief for patients with severe depression after 5 days

Screenshot source: American Journal of Psychiatry



Stanford Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT) is a personalized transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment developed by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Stanford neuromodulation therapy is a new therapy developed by researchers based on intermittent theta pulse stimulation (iTBS).


iTBS is a technology that uses magnetic field pulses to depolarize neuronal cells and induce potential changes to adjust the excitability and function of the cerebral cortex.

iTBS has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of refractory depression, but the treatment course is longer, and only about one-third of depression patients have been relieved.


The Stanford neuromodulation therapy solves these limitations of iTBS.

The new therapy can locate magnetic pulses according to the neural circuits of each patient and provide more pulses at a faster speed to advance the treatment.


Recently, the research results of Stanford’s neuromodulation therapy were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The study pointed out that this new type of magnetic brain stimulation therapy can quickly (5 days) relieve the symptoms of nearly 80% of patients with major depression, and the side effects are only temporary fatigue and headache.


This double-blind randomized controlled study included 29 participants with treatment-resistant depression (the average duration of depression was nine years).

The researchers randomly assigned these participants to 2 groups, one group of patients received Stanford neuromodulation therapy, and the other group of participants received placebo treatment that mimics real treatment.

The main result of the study was the score of depressive symptoms after 4 weeks of treatment, which was completed by the Montgomery-Osberg Depression Scale (MADRS).


During the treatment of the experimental group, the researchers first used MRI to locate the best position in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of each participant; this area is functionally most related to the subgenual cingulate and can Regulate executive functions, such as problem solving and suppressing unwanted reactions.


Then, the researchers applied therapeutic stimulation to the sub-area that has the strongest relationship with the subknee cingulate gyrus (which is the overactive part of the brain in patients with depression).

Participants received 10 pulse treatments a day, each with 1800 pulses, with a 50-minute rest period between the two treatments, and treatment for 5 consecutive days.

This stimulation strengthens the connection between the two areas and promotes the control of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to the subknee cingulate gyrus activity, thereby regulating nerve function.


Participants in both groups wore noise-reducing headphones and applied topical ointment to relieve pain.

During the study period, participants who had previously taken antidepressant medications still maintained their normal doses; participants who had not previously taken medications did not need to start taking any medications.


After 5 days of treatment, after 4 weeks of follow-up, it was found that:

Of the 14 participants who received treatment, 12 patients improved, and 11 of them met the FDA’s remission criteria. In the treatment group, the remission rate was 79%; compared with baseline, the MADRS score decreased by an average of 52.5%.

In contrast, of the 15 participants who received placebo treatment, only two met the remission criteria. In the control group, the response rate was 13%; compared with baseline, the MADRS score decreased by 11.1% on average.


The paper concluded that: under normal circumstances, patients who start taking depression drugs, their symptoms will not alleviate within a month.

After using Stanford neuromodulation therapy, participants usually felt relief of symptoms within a few days of treatment.

The therapy has a short course of treatment and high curative effect, and provides an opportunity for rapid treatment for depression patients in emergency or hospitalization treatment.

Researchers hope that the therapy can be used to treat patients with refractory depression.


Nolan Williams, the corresponding author of the study and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, pointed out: “The treatment is effective and rapid, and the treatment is non-invasive. 

Experts hope this treatment will be widely used in emergency departments and psychiatric wards in the future. , Because these patients are at the highest risk of suicide.

For those in a state of emergency, this therapy may also change existing treatment options.”








[1] Eleanor J. Cole et al., (2021) Stanford Neuromodulation Therapy (SNT): A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial, American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2021.20101429

[2] Experimental depression treatment is nearly 80% effective in controlled study. Retrieved NOVEMBER 1, 2021, FROM https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-experimental-depression-treatment-effective.html

Stanford neuromodulation therapy: 80% relief for patients with severe depression after 5 days

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