Magnetic brain stimulation


Monash University and Alfred Hospital researchers are developing a device for the improved treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The therapeutic approach is based on non-invasive magnetic stimulation of the brain, known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This is an important treatment option for people who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD), as around 30% of MDD patients fail to respond to standard treatment options.

rTMS has been shown to have clinically meaningful effects and improve the quality of life for patients. However, the limitation of the current technique is that for many patients, the benefits are lost after stimulation ceases.

To provide a longer term solution, a new device is being developed in a collaboration between the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (Professor Paul Fitzgerald and Dr Richard Thomson), Monash University Department of Electrical Engineering (Professor Malin Premaratne) and the Alfred Hospital Department of Neurosurgery (Dr Philip Lewis). The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate a miniaturised implantable magnetic stimulation device for cortical surface and deep brain stimulation. This would enhance the application of magnetic stimulation therapy for MDD and allow personalised targeted delivery.