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Mental Health in the News: December 8, 2022


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Mental Health in the News

Welcome to Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry’s Mental health in the News weekly update. Below are some current news events relating to mental health and mental health treatments.

A New Collaboration Between BrainsWay and NOCD Aims to Increase Awareness About OCD Treatment Options

BrainsWay, a leader in noninvasive neurostimulation and deep transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments (TMS) for mental health disorders, recently announced that it will be collaborating with NOCD, an innovative telehealth platform that specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treatments, to increase awareness about different treatment options for OCD. 

OCD is a mental health disorder where patients have symptoms of obsessive and intrusive thoughts as well as compulsive behaviors. It is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a highly debilitating disease that can negatively affect a patient’s life if not properly treated. While many first-line treatment options are available, such as traditional psychotherapy and medication, many patients are treatment-resistant, meaning their symptoms do not improve with these treatments. 

BrainsWay and NOCD’s collaboration aims to increase awareness about other forms of OCD treatments that both companies offer. NOCD’s  platform offers patients easy and affordable access to Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), an effective form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), that is considered the gold standard of therapy for OCD patients.  BrainsWay offers Deep TMS which is FDA approved for treating OCD.

What is Deep TMS

BrainsWay Deep TMS is a noninvasive treatment that uses an H7 coil to create magnetic fields to stimulate parts of the brain associated with OCD. Deep TMS can be used alongside other treatments such as psychotherapy and medication. It is also covered by many major US insurance companies including: 

  • Cigna
  • Centene
  • Highmark
  • Health Care Services Corporation
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield 
  • Tricare
  • Palmetto GBA Medicare

Hope for the Future

Both BrainsWay and NOCD hope that their partnership will lead to better care and ultimately relief from symptoms by those suffering from OCD. Stephen Smith, Cofounder and CEO of NOCD said, “With this partnership we’re one step closer to making a world without OCD suffering a reality for millions of families.”

To read the original news article, click here.

A New Study Identifies Brain Networks Linked to Higher and Lower Depression Symptoms

A new study conducted by a team at University of Iowa Health Care identified two separate brain networks associated with risk (higher depression symptoms) and resilience (lower depression symptoms) in depression. 

These findings suggest new areas of the brain for physicians to target in neuromodulation therapies such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Deep TMS which use magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to treat depression and other mental health disorders

The Study

Researchers analyzed 526 brain imaging scans of patients with brain lesions acquired from strokes or head injury. Using the scans along with the patient’s depression scores, researchers found that the regions of risk and resilience were concentrated in certain networks. 

Increased depression symptoms were associated with the salience network which is associated with focusing, tasks, and processing emotions. Lower depression symptoms were associated with the default mode network, associated with introspection.

Researchers were able to discover these regions due to the large sample size they acquired through the Iowa Neurological Patient Registry and the Vietnam head injury study affiliated with Northwestern University. Without a large sample size it is difficult to identify these regions of the brain because they are spread out across the network. Small sample sizes may have impeded past studies. 

Dr. Trapp, one of the leading researchers, says that the findings “…could open the doors to potential studies looking at deep brain stimulation or non-invasive forms of stimulation like TMS, where we might be able to modulate the specific brain areas or networks to try to get antidepressant effects, or potentially other therapeutic effects.”

To read the original news article, click here.

US Preventive Services Task Force Recommends Screening Adults 65 and Under for Anxiety

In September, the US Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft of new guidelines which recommend screening adults under age 65 for anxiety. While these guidelines are not finalized until after a period for public comment, this marks the first time that the task force has recommended anxiety screenings for such a large segment of the population. 

According to the task force, anxiety disorders are widespread with 26% of men and 40% of women experiencing them at least once in their lifetime. People with a mental health disorder, like depression, are considered high risk for anxiety. However, they also acknowledge that more research is needed to determine the prevalence of anxiety disorders in other groups defined by factors like race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.  

Defining Anxiety Disorder

While everyone experiences feelings of anxiety in their life, it is not the same as a medically diagnosed anxiety disorder. A person with an anxiety disorder will have on-going and extreme fear or anxiety that negatively interferes with day-to-day activities like social engagements, going to work or school, or their relationships. There are many different diagnoses including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

People with anxiety can experience a wide variety of symptoms including:

  • Restlessness
  • Uneasiness
  • Feeling panicked or doomed
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Panic attacks (defined as heart palpitations and shortness of breath)
  • Other physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches

Anxiety is Treatable

There are many treatment options for anxiety including psychotherapy and medications. Often lifestyle changes are also recommended such as meditation, exercise, and reducing drinking and smoking.

 If someone thinks that they have anxiety they should talk to their doctors or take an online anxiety screening tool.

Dr. Leana Wen, who is a CNN Medical Analyst, wants people to know that anxiety is treatable: “The bottom line here is that treatments work. They reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders and help people regain wellness in their lives.”

To read the original news article, click here.

Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.


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