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Help Monash University researchers investigate the use of TMS in treating depression for women

Depression in the postpartum period

Nearly 20% of women experience postpartum depression (PPD) within the first three months after delivering their baby.

Psychotherapy is typically the first treatment option for women with PPD, however this involves a significant investment of time and effort, and the overall process is quite slow.

Antidepressants such as SSRIs are another treatment option, however people often report side effects and women express concerns about the effect on a breastfed infant.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a fast, effective treatment with minimal to no side effects.

What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a well-recognised, non-invasive treatment for depression.

TMS is delivered by a magnetic coil placed lightly against the scalp. The coil produces magnetic fields which induce electrical activity in adjacent areas of the brain.

The location and frequency of the magnetic pulses can be varied to either stimulate or subdue targeted areas, such as those regions involved in the regulation of mood.

Meet the research team

David Barton

Dr David Barton

  • Director, NeuroCentrix and Neuro Trials Victoria
  • Clinical Director of Psychiatry, Southeastern Private Hospital
  • Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Acquired Brain Injury Unit Alfred Hospital
Shane Costello

Dr Shane Costello

  • Educational and Developmental Psychologist
  • Senior Lecturer, Monash University
  • Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, NeuroCentrix
  • BSc (Psych), PGDip Psych, MPsych (Ed & Dev) / PhD
Maddison Huddle

Maddison Huddle

  • Registered Psychologist Educational and Developmental Registrar
  • Senior TMS Clinician, NeuroCentrix
  • BA (Psych), PGDip Psych, MPsych (Ed & Dev) / PhD Candidate
Jake Kraska

Dr Jake Kraska

  • Educational and Developmental Psychologist
  • Senior Lecturer, Monash University
  • Director of Supervised Practice, Krongold Clinic
  • BPsychBuS, BA BTech, PGDip Psych, MPsych (Ed & Dev) / PhD

Is TMS right for me?

TMS has been used to treat thousands of patients worldwide. After 30 years of extensive study, no long-term side effects have been identified.

TMS may involve side-effects during treatment, but these are almost always mild and brief and only rarely lead to stopping treatment. Most common are passing fatigue and mild scalp discomfort or headache.

Some specific conditions may make you not suitable for TMS treatment. Our psychiatrists undertake initial assessment to confirm your suitability for TMS treatment.

Is TMS safe?

TMS has already been demonstrated to be safe and effective for treating depression, and is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for the treatment of depression.

Recently TMS has also been approved for use under the Medicare benefits schedule.

Participants will be under the clinical care of psychiatrists and psychologists, and will have access to all therapeutic and psychopharmacological alternatives as required.

Is TMS effective?

Every patient is different and the only way to decide the optimal treatment is through a proper assessment. TMS may be right for you if:

  • You suffer from symptoms of depression
  • Anti-depressants have failed to remove your symptoms
  • Anti-depressants have caused unpleasant side effects
  • You cannot take anti-depressants because of another condition.

TMS is likely not for you if you have a metal implant, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Research ethics

This research project will be overseen by the Monash University of Human Research Ethics Committee (Project ID: 28202). For more information about the project, please read the Explanatory Statement.

Help Monash University researchers investigate the use of TMS in treating depression for women