MeRT for Depression
A New Approach to Addressing Depression
This FDA-cleared treatment for Depression, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Treatment-Resistant Depression is now available at the BrainStim Centers.
In simple terms, we use a magnetic field to stimulate and balance brain function, guided by very comprehensive diagnostics.
Our Approach to Depression
Depression can be so hard and people of all ages can be affected.
We know what it is like to deal with depression, whether this is affecting you or someone you love. Medications can help some. But some individuals don’t respond as well or have a hard time dealing with the side effects. And some people just don’t like having to take them. At the BrainStim Centers, we offer an entirely different approach to treating depression. It’s non-invasive, drug-free, and lasting. There is hope.
While depression is often initially treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or often both, sometimes these treatments don’t work fully on everyone. This is often referred to as Treatment-Resistant Depression or TRD. Additionally, these medications may come with side effects that are not well tolerated.
We have another option for treatment. The team at BrainStim Centers utilizes highly individualized Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for treating patients who may have tried these methods. By doing this, we offer something that works in a significant number of cases — without drugs and that is completely non-invasive.
Diagnostics and Brain Imaging are the Key.
Our use of sophisticated diagnostic tools includes an EEG diagnostic brain scan that reveals your brain wave function, activity, and performance. We also utilize a comprehensive cognitive brain assessment from Cambridge Brain Science. In some cases, an MRI is also done.
These are then reviewed by top Neurosurgeon, Dr. Mark Liker for evaluation.
Once these diagnostics are done and evaluated, you will have a one-on-one review with a highly trained clinician to discuss these findings.
While most TMS clinics offer a standardized treatment for everyone, we offer highly customized treatment protocols based on each individual’s diagnostics.
- Feeling alone
- Extreme fatigue, physical and/or mental
- Sleep issues
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Depression can affect people in different ways
Symptoms of Depression
Depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression, can have a variety of symptoms as well as degrees of severity for different people. These can include:
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Dwelling on past events or failures
- Feeling hopeless or overwhelmingly sad
- Substance abuse or desire to use drugs or alcohol
- Difficulty completing everyday activities
- Emotional outbursts
- Mood swings
- Not eating and weight loss
- Overeating and weight gain
- Performance issues with work or study
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of interest in work, relationships, or social activities
For me, depression was the constant feeling of: “I want to quit” and retreat to my home, except I would already be home… MeRT helped me shed this feeling in less than 2 weeks. I couldn’t believe I had spent so many years feeling that way.” – MeRT Patient.
– Annie Alpine / Nature First
A New Approach
MeRT for Treatment of Depression
Here’s what you should know about depression: Patients suffering from depression have specific markers that can be clearly seen in EEG studies. Basically, this is an imbalance in brainwave activity, known as asymmetry, meaning an imbalance between the left and the right hemispheres of the brain.
Through MeRT treatment, we will work to identify these asymmetries and strengthen healthy brainwave activity to reduce the symptoms of depression.
MeRT stands for Magnetic Resonance Therapy.
MeRT is completely non-invasive, painless, and uses no drugs or medications.
MeRT is a highly individualized form of TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. In essence, we use magnetic fields to gently stimulate specific areas of the brain that are not communicating or connecting as they should, balancing brain function. This is all guided by very detailed imaging and diagnostics.
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Each session time will vary. The first session typically takes around 60 minutes to load the MRI, conduct the brain navigation, and administer the initial treatment. We will then save this data on the computer, so subsequent visits normally take 30 minutes from start to finish.
Typically, there are 36 sessions, and we see the best results with consistent daily attendance at each appointment.
Nexstim is another option for Treatment of Depression
When depressed, specific areas of your brain are underactive. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the nerves in the brain. As a result, this boosting of nerve activity leads to an increase in neurotransmitters. This can then alleviate the symptoms of depression.
The team at BrainStim Centers performs TMS therapy using Nexstim SmartFocus® TMS technology. The Nexstim system can pinpoint the underactive areas of the brain using a 3D image created from an MRI.
During your treatment, the Nexstim device administers repetitive magnetic pulses in a way that only affects the targeted area. Since your information is programmed into the Nexstim, you can be sure that every session consistently treats the same area.
While relaxing in the Nexstim chair, a tracker will be placed on your forehead. The tracker engages with the system so the equipment and computer can follow the exact location for delivering the pulses.
When the device is placed near your head, it will deliver subtle magnetic pulses which is the beginning of your session.
Meet our Medical Director
World-renowned Neurosurgeon Mark Liker, MD, FAANS, FACS, is the founder and CEO of BrainStim Centers, Inc., with clinics located in Encino and Valencia, California. “Our mission is to provide a professional & honest approach to health care”
Dr. Liker expects the highest standard of care and equipment not only in his private practice but in his TMS and MeRT Clinics as well.
As a neurosurgeon, I recognize that the accuracy of my equipment means the difference between an effective and ineffective treatment. Our patients rely on this as well. Many have relied on either medication or therapy. However, MeRT, or Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy, offers an innovative, non-invasive option to target critical brain pathways associated with a variety of diseases.”
World-renowned Neurosurgeon Mark Liker, MD, FAANS, FACS, and founder of BrainStim Centers
Watch this short, but informative video on how MeRT can help the brain with depression.
See how TMS addresses Depression.
We can look at these signals and find areas that are abnormal, [then we] use this FDA cleared technology, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, to navigate to the area that’s not working properly and try to stimulate it and remind it that it wants to fire at a certain frequency and a certain rate.”
– Dr. Erik Won, President of Wave Neuroscience, from his appearance on the Broken Brain podcast
“Everyone experiences their world a little bit differently.”
“EEGs (electrical pictures of the brain) can tell us when there are abnormalities in neural networks. … And we run that data through a normative database, and we can see, for example, if somebody has an area in the left prefrontal cortex that’s cycling at two Hertz — which means that they may be only processing information two times per second — whereas the rest of their brain may be cycling 11 times per second. That information mismatch may manifest for somebody who has depression. They may lack motivation, feel lethargic, not want to get out of bed.”
But in a different scenario… let’s say it is the visual cortex that’s cycling now at 30 times per second. If you’re scanning your environment 30 times per second, but [are] only able to process it 10 or 11 times per second, this information overload may manifest as anxiety. And it’s not a one-to-one correlation. Everyone experiences their world a little bit differently.
If you and the doctor both determine that MeRT may be the right treatment, the next step is an Assessment Period. This entails a short period of treatment, followed by a new EEG to see if your child is responding to the treatment.
We assess this based on the new EEG results, as well as symptom improvements. If there is a positive response to treatment during the assessment period, you will have likely noticed some improvements. At that point, we can schedule the rest of the treatment.
So, as you can see, there are many steps involved in ensuring that your child receives the treatment that will benefit them.
You may also be interested in the many RESEARCH STUDIES that have been done.
Contact the New Patient Coordinator
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How Do I know…
Is MeRT the Right Treatment?
It’s difficult to know, just from reading this, if MeRT is the right treatment for your child. Because we understand this, we know that your first step needs to be a simple one: a phone consultation with our New Patient Coordinator. During this call, you can discuss symptoms and history, ask questions, and have her explain the protocols, fees, and treatment details.
Then, if you are interested in taking the next step, we can set up an appointment for an EEG (a simple, non-invasive brain scan) and a second appointment for a consultation with our Clinician. Once the EEG and other testing has been done and before your consultation, neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Liker, our Medical Director with thoroughly review your test results and determine if a patient may benefit from MeRT and the exact treatment plan for the best possible results.
Once we have analyzed the test results, you will have a one-on-one consultation with our clinician to discuss the results and details of the treatment plan. You can either attend this appointment in person or, if you wish, you can attend virtually. During this time, you will discuss your child’s symptoms and the treatment protocols with you. You can also ask further questions so that together, you can determine if your child is a candidate for treatment.
Interested but not sure?
Talk with our New Patient Coordinator
Our New Patient Coordinator is here for you, and we understand what you may be going through. To that end, we want to help, and it costs nothing to call us and talk about what is happening.
During your call, the New Patient Coordinator will listen to you and answer your questions. She will also explain our process and protocols, as well as costs, possible insurance benefits, and any other details you want to know.
There are no obligations and she will take all the time you need in order to determine whether you should take the next steps.