TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A mental health service in Toledo is bringing hope to patients struggling with depression by using a non-invasive, drug free technique. At Valko and Associates, this technique has proven to be a life-saver.
The technique is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, also known as TMS. It is a way to treat depression using an MRI magnet that targets key neurons in the brain.
"There are no side effects and it allows your brain to make the things that you need to make to help you eliminate your depression," said Dr. Tim Valko, with Valko & Associates.
Wayne Brakel, 23, was diagnosed with depression in the third grade, but it was not until recently that his condition started to take a turn for the worse. Brakel tried various medications, but to no avail.
"It was very severe,"said Brakel. "We started to look into TMS as a therapy."
During the treatment, Valko's patients sit in what looks like a spa chair. A small magnetic coil on the scalp targets the location in the brain that controls mood.
For Brakel, the treatment is painless.
However, patients must meet certain criteria to receive TMS therapy.
"You actually have to have had a trial of four different anti-depressants from two different families of medications," said Valko.
In addition to failed medications, a patient must be at least 18 years old and has to have been diagnosed with major depression.
Valko and Associates has been using this type of therapy for about three years and studies confirm that patients who do not respond well to antidepressants, about two thirds do respond well to TMS.
Brakel receives this FDA-cleared procedure five days a week and has been for the past three years. He said it has saved his life.
"Wayne went from being actively suicidal to now, you know, he is almost completely done with his treatment, to looking forward to the future, back having a social life, back enjoying his family. It is really awesome to see," said Valko.