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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The use of brain stimulation for the treatment and investigation of mood disorders is rapidly expanding. Mood disorders are common, but so are treatment-refractory or intolerant patients, explaining increasing interest in alternatives to medications and talk therapy. Additionally, depressive episodes are periodic or temporary states and are thus amenable to pulsatile, non-systemic treatments. The oldest brain stimulation method, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), remains the most effective acute antidepressant available. The newer brain stimulation methods, in particular repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), also show that non-invasive stimulation of key brain regions not only effectively treats depression, but also causes quantifiable changes in brain biomarkers. More research is needed, though, to better understand how these treatments work, for whom they work, and how to optimize their use.

Keywords: electroconvulsive therapy, magnetic seizure therapy, focal electrically administered seizure therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial alternating current stimulation

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