Magnetic Seizure Therapy: an Evolution of Convulsive Therapy

Katalin Martits-Chalangari, Alexis Milton, Mustafa M. Husain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) affects a significant subset of depressed patients. It is estimated that about 30 % of patients with major depressive disorder do not respond to standard treatments. For these patients, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains the most effective treatment despite being limited by its side effects. Modifications to ECT parameters have suggested that it may be possible to separate the therapeutic effects of convulsive therapy from the production of side effects. Recent Findings: Magnetic seizure therapy (MST), which uses electromagnetic induction to induce a seizure, is an alternative, experimental convulsive treatment for major depression. Seizures induced by MST are more focal than those produced by ECT, thereby offering greater control over the induced electric field. Most importantly, it offers the potential to provide antidepressant effect without cognitive side effects. Recent findings have further shown the effectiveness of MST and compared cognitive and metabolic side effects to ECT. Summary: This article reviews the current literature for clinical studies on MST. While initial results are promising, future work is needed to compare MST efficacy with other antidepressant treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-380
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Behavioral Neuroscience Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Cognition
  • ECT
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • MST
  • Magnetic seizure therapy
  • Major depression
  • Neuromodulation
  • TRD
  • Treatment-resistant depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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