For one-quarter of the depressed, medical doesn't work. Now a new device is using magnets to end the darkness.
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Melissa Medalie: Steve aspires to be the next great novelist. He is in the process of closing a very long chapter in his life, 20 years of severe depression. Steve tried psychiatry sessions and medications, but continued his fall into despair and darkness. Steve: For all practical purposes, I was asleep 18 to 20 hours a day. Melissa Medalie: For the past few months, Steve has been getting transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. It was recently cleared by the FDA for treating depression. A machine delivers a series of quick pulses to a section of the skull about the size of quarter. Researchers say the stimulation reactivates parts of the brain that regulate mood. John O'Reardon: The beauty of it is, we can do it non invasively in the doctor's office without needing sedation with the patient being able to resume their normal activities immediately. Melissa Medalie : In a study of more than 300 people with major depression, those who had TMS were twice as likely to go into remission or have a good response compared to those who didn't have the magnetic pulses. Doctors say possible side effects can include headaches and seizures. Steve noticed a change in his mood after two weeks. Steve: I came back and came back far more suddenly than I left. Melissa Medalie: Now, he is looking forward to writing the next chapter in his life. This is Melissa Medalie reporting.