Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

In order to improve access to an approved and evidence informed treatment option for adults with treatment resistant depression, the Foundation has committed to providing the funds necessary to purchase 4 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation devices for primary care centres in the Edmonton region. Repetitive Transcranial Stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive procedure in which cerebral electrical activity is influenced by a rapidly changing magnetic field.

Dr. Frank MacMaster and his research assistant demonstrate painless magnetic stimulation at Dr. MacMaster’s lab in Calgary.


Why this Equipment is Important

In 2012 4.7% of the Canadian population over 15 years of age met the criteria for a major depressive episode in the preceding 12 months and, of these, 30%-60% of people with Major Depressive Disorder will be resistant to treatment. If we apply these numbers to Edmonton, an estimated 15-30 thousand individuals over the age of 15 are experiencing treatment-resistant depression.

Currently the only treatment option available to individuals with Treatment Resistant Depression is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), which involves causing a seizure while a person is under general anesthetic. rTMS has been shown to have the same effectiveness as ECT, but it doesn’t require anesthetic or seizures and has fewer side effects.

There is no access to rTMS in the Edmonton region at this time. Patients who wish to receive this treatment have only two options, both large time-commitments: a publicly-funded program at the Centennial Centre in Ponoka, or one privately-funded service in Calgary.

Support from the Mental Health Foundation

TMS is universally acknowledged to be effective and a valuable addition to a treatment-providers arsenal against depression. Our job is to advocate for this equipment in our area as soon as possible. Our support not only provides the money necessary to purchase the first TMS devices in the Edmonton region, it shows that technology geared toward alleviating mental illness is a priority. We are committed to bringing TMS to Edmonton.

Learn more from Dr. Frank MacMaster.

Check out the inside of a TMS lab.

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