S1E123: A new personalised treatment for stubborn depression

  • 19 Apr 2024

IMH trial to study efficacy of personalised transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression.

Synopsis: Every first Wednesday of the month, The Straits Times helps you make sense of health matters that affect you.

Researchers from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore are studying a new personalised treatment for resistant depression. 

It is the personalised version of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate and reset the specific part of the brain that regulates mood. 

A clinical trial that aims to study its efficacy is currently being conducted at IMH. It pairs TMS with the algorithm of each patient’s functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify a precise spot on the head where magnetic stimulation can be applied to achieve better outcomes.

In this Health Check podcast episode, ST senior health correspondent Joyce Teo speaks to two experts involved in the trial. Dr Tor Phern Chern is a Senior Consultant at the Mood & Anxiety department and Head of Neurostimulation Service, at IMH and Associate Professor Thomas Yeo is from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:28 How does TMS work? 

8:47 Using a tape measure to ascertain the target area 

10:34 What is depression?

23:29 Using Professor Yeo's algorithm to find an individual treatment target

25:52 What is the trial about? 

29:27 Envisioning a future of TMS treatments

Produced by: Joyce Teo (joyceteo@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis, and Eden Soh

Edited by: Eden Soh

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