Music combined with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the treatment of depression
Depression can be disabling, and standard treatments are often ineffective. rTMS is a safe and effective brain stimulation modality. rTMS is often used in combination with other evidence-based strategies to improve treatment outcomes.We are introducing a novel combination approach of rTMS with music. Our goal is to present proof of concept and provide a theoretical framework on why this combination may be superior. We reviewed existing literature on music’s benefits in treating depression as well as evidence base on music’s effects on the brain. We have delivered the combination treatment of music and rTMS to 9 adult patients with severe treatment-resistant MDD. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) was used to measure the response. Response and remission rates were 89% and 56%, respectively. The mean change in the total HAM-D score was -15.3 (SD=3.6). Music’s powerful effects on the brain make it an invaluable tool for using in combination with rTMS. In addition to being augmentative to the rTMS course, music can also provide a “priming effect,” whereby underlying brain activity is altered in a way that it improves beneficial effects of stimulation. This combination method is safe, convenient, and easy to set up and deliver.
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