The Neuroscience Center at Lakeside was established to provide patients with safe and effective therapy that can treat the symptoms of a multitude of treatment-resistant psychological illnesses. Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) has been shown to be effective in severely depressed patients when medications were not. Despite advances in other methods of treating mental disorders, ECT remains the most effective, fastest and safest option in many cases. Lakeside also offers Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which has proven an effective treatment for depression.

Electro Convulsive Therapy

ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) treats severe episodes of major depression, mania and some types of schizophrenia through the use of a brief, controlled electrical current to produce a seizure within the brain. This seizure activity is believed to bring about certain biochemical changes which can cause symptoms to diminish or even disappear. Usually, a series of seizures (generally four to 12) given at a rate of two or three per week is required to produce such a therapeutic effect, but sometimes a smaller or larger number may be necessary.

ECT works by affecting the same transmitter chemicals in the brain that are affected by medications. Although there have been many advances in the treatment of mental disorders in recent years, ECT remains the most effective, fastest and safest treatment for many cases, particularly when alternative treatments (usually medications) are either not effective or not safe, or when a person is very likely to commit suicide. ECT is most effective in major depression, where it has a strong beneficial effect to patients, but as with other treatments, there is no guarantee it will be effective in every instance.

While treatments have risks and side effects, not treating depression also carries potentially significant risks. Prior to ECT at Lakeside, patients will undergo a careful medical, psychiatric and laboratory evaluation to make sure that the treatments can be administered in the safest, most effective manner possible. Medications may also be adjusted to minimize the risk and maximize the effectiveness of the treatments. For most patients, the side effects of ECT are relatively minor.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

In 2011, the Neuroscience Center at Lakeside began providing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy for the treatment of depression. This outpatient procedure is performed under the supervision of an attending psychiatrist while the patient is awake and alert, with most treatment regimens administered for four to six weeks.

Since the late 1990s, physicians have used TMS to treat major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from antidepressant medications. TMS involves the use of very short pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This non-drug, non-systemic alternative antidepressant has been proven to be well-tolerated and has no negative effects on memory or ability to concentrate.

How does TMS Work?

The treating psychiatrist positions the treatment coil over the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain thought to be involved with mood regulation.  Through the treatment coil, the TMS Therapy system generates a highly concentrated, magnetic field which turns on and off rapidly (this magnetic field is the same type and strength produced by an MRI machine). The magnetic field passes through the hair, scalp, skull and into the prefrontal cortex. This method allows for a precise type of stimulation, minimizing the stimulation of brain tissue not involved in moods.

Inside the brain, the dynamic nature of the pulsed magnetic field induces electrical charges to flow.  The amount of electricity created in the brain is very small, but these small electric charges cause the neurons to fire or become active.  The treatment goal is to stimulate brain cells non-invasively without anesthesia or sedation.  The most common side effects associated with TMS Therapy are scalp pain or discomfort at the site of application.  Patients remain awake and alert throughout the TMS Therapy session, able to resume normal life activities immediately following treatment.