Northampton hospital to be one of the first to use magnets to treat depression

Berrywood Hospital
Berrywood Hospital

A Northampton hospital will be one of the first in the country to offer a treatment that uses magnets to combat depression.

Berrywood Hospital in Duston, which specialises in treating mental health, will be one of the first NHS sites to offer the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to patients with resistant depression.

The noninvasive treatment uses a strong magnet, placed over the scalp, to pass magnetic impulses into the area of the brain linked to mood regulation, in a similar way to an MRI machine.

When administered rapidly, this can create long lasting changes in the brain’s activity.

Medical director, Dr Alex O’Neill Kerr, said: “We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to offer this treatment to our patients.

“It is a treatment for adult patients with severe clinical depression who have found antidepressants have failed repeatedly to control their symptoms.

“We are the only NHS trust to offer rTMS on a clinical basis and not part of a research trial which allows us to tailor the treatment to individual patients.

“It is a fantastic example of new technology making a real difference to patients’ lives and we are looking forward to seeing positive results from this ground-breaking technology.”

Patients must be properly diagnosed and assessed by a psychiatrist before they are referred for the treatment, which typically consists of four 30-40 minute sessions per week over a month-long period.

The hospital have said that patients may notice benefits from the first week.