Tübingen (dpa / lsw) - Doctors in Tübingen want to find out how well they can help people with depression by stimulating the brain with magnetic pulses.

"The process of so-called transcranial magnetic stimulation normalizes brain activity that has become unbalanced in the case of depression," says Christian Plewnia, specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Tübingen University Clinic.

In the study, which is funded by the Research Ministry with around two million euros, a goggle-shaped device is placed on the forehead region five times a week on an outpatient basis for patients over a period of six weeks: the nerve cells of the brain are passed through for 3 minutes on the left and 40 seconds on the right half of the head Magnetic impulses stimulated.

According to Plewnia, this method, which was co-developed in Tübingen and is currently used in a very similar form in the USA, leads to a sustained stimulation of nerve cell activity.

In depression, the area of ​​the brain just behind the forehead is treated.

"In the study, a special form of stimulation is used that only lasts a few minutes and thus enables treatment on both sides."

The study starts on Monday.


According to Plewnia, daily stimulation should help regain control over the negative thoughts, feelings and actions that are in the foreground in depression.

"There is often a noticeable improvement in mood and performance," says Plewnia, who has already had experience with this in a pilot study.

Erika Fuchs was a patient at the clinic.

The 52-year-old has been suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and intense anxiety for many years.

She has already tried this method twice.

“This therapy makes me feel fresh again.

Fears and panic have become much, much less, »says Fuchs.

«I was very excited before the treatment.

It is not painful, but it is uncomfortable.

You can feel a twitch and pinpricks. "

After the first treatment, she was initially fine, but some time later it got worse again.

She is satisfied with the result of the new attempt last year.

“I'm not naive to think I'm healed forever.

But if I feel worse, I now know where to go. "

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210213-99-423069 / 2


Flyer theta burst stimulation

Information on the procedure from the Federal Ministry of Research

Film about how magnetic stimulation works