New SAINT protocol gathers pace in the US

Published 30th November 2021

We last posted about the Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT) protocol in July this year as the Clinical TMS Society highlighted the latest update on this protocol in their annual meeting.

The protocol is based on an intense course of TMS treatment, using fMRI scans to target specific areas of the brain for TMS treatment. More recently, the treatment has been picked up by press in the United States. CBS News recently covered the treatment and followed the story of a woman from San Francisco who is bi-polar and recently completed a course of TMS treatment on the SAINT protocol, under the care of one of the pioneers of this new treatment, Dr Nolan Williams.

The patient went from having a suicidal crisis, to smiling all in one day, Dr Williams commented “within 24 hours, she was totally normal”.

From the most recent clinical trial, up to 80% of patients went into remission from having severe depression, which is quite incredible, especially when patients with such severe depression have not found relief from previous treatment options.

SAINT’s magnetic pulses are set to replicate the way the brain communicates with itself, and repetition of those pulses essentially teaches the brain how to maintain its balance. Similar to TMS treatment that is available in the UK, the effects of treatment should give long lasting relief from the symptoms of depression as the repetitive nature of the treatment builds neuroplasticity. However, the SAINT protocol offers a quick and intense option to relieve symptoms more quickly and with great results.

Here at Smart TMS, we have been keeping a close eye on this research and have been looking at what we can learn from the study and the impressive results in the hope that we can, in the not-too-distant future, offer a quicker treatment course with comparable results. Currently we see 75% of patients with depression have a significant improvement in their symptoms and up to 60% of patients go into remission, having no symptoms of their condition at the end of their course of treatment.

 

Read the recent article on CBS News.

 

Read more about the SAINT trial and results of the study.

 

[Photo credit: Steve Fisch, available at https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/10/depression-treatment.html]

 

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