Researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, led by Michael Rohan have found that an MRI can significantly alleviate depression among those with bipolar disorder. A chance finding led to the study in which 30 bipolar patients were given a scan with a GE 1.5 Tesla MRI: 23 (77%) reported an improvement in their mood, while only 4 of 14 (29%) healthy control subjects noted a similar enhancement. All 11 patients who were not taking mood-stabilizing medication said that they felt better after the scan. The results are in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
“The brain is an electrochemical organ, and we’ve always been working with it chemically to treat illnesses,” Dr. Bruce Cohen, the head psychiatrist at McLean, told the Boston Globe (January 1). “Working with it magnetically is very exciting: It may sound like science fiction, but it really makes good sense that you can change its activity and push people out of depression.” McLean is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.