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Observations placeholder

Barbara Baas and TMS



Type of Spiritual Experience


Right: Barbara Baas undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation, “a new noninvasive treatment for depression that uses magnetic energy to stimulate nerve cells in the brain”. Dr. Mustafa Husain, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, is administering the treatment. (Photo courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center)

A description of the experience

Magnetic Stimulation Treatment For Depression Helping Difficult-to-Treat Cases At UT Southwestern ScienceDaily (May 11, 2005) — DALLAS (May 10, 2005) – continued……………

For Mrs. Baas, treatments involve lying awake in a chair for almost 40 minutes with two small electromagnetic coils strategically placed on her head and loud clicking noises sounding in her ears. Magnetic pulses are aimed at the left prefrontal cortex of the brain. Inside the brain, the magnetic pulses produce an electric field. This field, in turn, stimulates the neurons in that region of the brain, yet the amount of electricity created in the brain is too small for her to feel and does not trigger a seizure.

When the treatment is finished, Mrs. Baas gets up and drives herself home, having experienced no side effects except for an occasional headache.

Describing herself as "the poster child for mental illness," Mrs. Baas said she's experienced bouts of "absolute hopelessness" throughout her life.

"There were times when I couldn't get through the day. I was in a pathetic state. When you're in major depression, you have no energy, no joy. You spiral down and can't concentrate or work."

As a study participant, Mrs. Baas does not know if she's getting the actual treatment or a placebo version. Participants who do not respond to the initial six-week study may be eligible for a follow-up study, at which time they will receive active TMS treatments.

"Whether I'm receiving it or not, I am absolutely thrilled with whatever is going on," she said. "Plus, it forces me to leave my house every day, which is also good for me."

Depression affects more than 18.8 million adult Americans each year - 12.4 million women and 6.4 million men - according to the National Institute of Mental Health and is one of the most common and debilitating of all diseases.

"This is a treatment, not a cure for depression," Dr. Husain said. "We need better and more treatment alternatives for depression. Our hope is that this will prove to be another option for people who suffer from this devastating disease."

To be eligible for the study, individuals must be 18 to 70 years old, have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder that has failed to respond to at least one antidepressant medication, and not be pregnant or have a significant neurological disorder.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps