Ara Chackerian Talks Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation; The Leading Edge in Healthcare

Ara Chackerian

The procedure has been deployed for over ten years now, bringing renewed hope to individuals suffering from chronic depression and a bevy of other behavioral health concerns. The risks to patients are exceeding low, and thanks to healthcare experts like Ara Chackerian, more and more patients have access to this breathtaking technology. It’s called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, TMS for short, and it offers a high-tech approach to vexing behavioral health disorders. Now covered by Medicare and most private insurers, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation becomes increasingly available in hospitals and clinics across the globe.


The Rise of TMS Treatment

Most researchers and behavioral health professionals agree that TMS is a magnificent treatment option for patients appearing to be relatively unresponsive to medication and other orthodox approaches to behavioral healthcare. Offered by manufacturers like NeuroStar for clinical use outside of hospitals, more and more private clinics are purchasing TMS devices and offering the treatment to patients. Cleared for provider use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008, TMS devices underwent an extensive federally-funded vetting process in the following two years to determine the efficacy of treatment. When the results were released in 2010, psychologists and psychiatrists alike were impressed by the recorded effectiveness of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, leading to a robust uptick in the purchase and deployment of TMS devices. When coupled with existing therapies like prescription therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, TMS appears to provide a significant reduction of symptoms in 50-60% of patients being treated for chronic depression. Dr. Roger Pottanat, a Nashville area psychiatrist who uses Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation with over 30 patients in his practice, notes that TMS affects thinking in a similar fashion to psychotherapy. “It’s not like this [TMS] treatment takes the emotions away,” Pottanat notes, “It’s how [patients] think about the emotions that seem to really change.”

As Ara Chackerian and other early proponents of TMS noted, TMS therapy holds tremendous promise for patients trying to navigate life as they contend with the debilitating effects of chronic depression. In fact, researchers are now studying TMS’s effectiveness on conditions including obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and other related disorders. The beautiful thing? Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation does not pose significant side effects to patients. In the clinic, patients receive up to forty minutes of pain-free treatment, and then simply drive home when treatment is over.


The Science

In the early days of TMS, the devices were viewed as research tools instead of treatment options. By deploying TMS on a research participant, scientists mapped areas of brain function, noting how the particular regions of the brain appeared in research participants with particular mental health profiles. However, it was soon discovered that the technology could be used in the treatment of individuals with various mental health profiles.

The science of TMS is exquisite. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation devices point a targeted magnetic field at specific areas of the brain, modulating the frequency of the magnetic field depending on the psychological profile of the patient. The frequency modulation can inhibit or stimulate the patient’s brain activity in the targeted area, offering a reduction in the symptoms that seem to stymie the patient’s quality of life and peace of mind. At times, TMS is paired with Virtual Reality therapies to help patients master anxieties. Researchers at Germany’s Würzburg University Hospital, for example, completed and published researching showing how TMS, when deployed with a well-crafted virtual reality experience, helps to alleviate anxiety disorders in patients, showing them how to confront targeted situations and spaces and "unlearn" fear.


Hot Circuit TMS

Hot Circuit TMS is one deployment of the technology used to impede the function of neurons in a specific region of the brain when the neurons cause troubling cravings or thought processes. Especially useful in confronting addiction, Hot Circuit TMS is applied to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain abnormally active when individuals wrestling with addiction experience the cues of their addiction. If the white power of cocaine can no longer send the cue to the brain, “I need you now,” the prognosis for the addict improves.


Cold Circuit TMS

Cold Circuit TMS, the variation of the treatment often used among patients dealing with depression is sometimes known as executive control. In Cold Circuit TMS, electromagnetic pulses are delivered are to a targeted area of the brain multiple times every second for several seconds, with a dormant period occurring three times during that period. Continuing for 200 seconds, the bursts of the electromagnetic stimulation target dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, adding renewed strength to the “cold circuit” of the brain while mitigating drug craving impulses.


Final Thoughts

The science is exquisite and the outcomes are exceedingly promising. As Ara Chackerian predicted many years ago, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has become a mainstream treatment solution in behavioral health because it works. As additional insurers acknowledge the efficacy of treatment, and as the uses of treatment continue to expand, TMS will offer additional benefit to the patients of today and tomorrow.


Ara Chackerian

A successful businessman, philanthropist, and futurist, Ara Chackerian envisions a better-connected and healthier humanity. Bolstered by tremendous interpersonal tools, Chackerian takes his message of healthcare opportunity into communities around the globe. Leveraging his wealth, education, and experience to bring forward the best in individuals and communities, Ara understands that the technological advances of today shape a verdant, sustainable tomorrow.

A graduate of Florida State University, Ara Chackerian is a pioneer in healthcare manager, and a trusted sage in the healthcare industry. While his work takes him to both hemispheres, Chackerian is based in California.



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