Objective: To examine developments in the application and use of a number of developing brain stimulation techniques for psychiatric disorders including treatment resistant major depression. Method: A review of studies outlining the development of the research base pertaining to the use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST), Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Results: A substantial but somewhat patchy research base is supporting a gradual shift of TMS from primarily a research tool to a technique available in clinical practice. MST has the potential to provide marked benefits over other forms of seizure induction, but requires rigorous efficacy evaluation. VNS and DBS are new and more invasive potential treatment methods in psychiatry. They both require rigorous evaluation of efficacy, and the safety of DBS remains uncertain. Conclusion: There is considerable potential for recent developments in non-pharmacological biological treatments in psychiatry to substantially enhance our options, especially for patients with treatment resistant disorders.
Keywords: Transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation, magnetic seizure therapy, depression, treatment resistant
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