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Health Check: New Hope for those with Severe Depression

{}Lynchburg, VA- Lois MacDonald never thought she'd enjoy music again, much less play her beloved classical bass. Chronic depression had robbed her of joy and nearly her life. The retired nurse practitioner, from Roanoke, had suffered for years and loss after personal loss gave her little reason to live, or so she thought.{}{}"Depression takes away your life and this kinda gives it back."{}Trans Cranial

Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS which was Lois' last ditch attempt to beat the depression. Medications and therapy couldn't beat the beast, she says. {}At one point, Lois was feeling so despondent, she was seriously considering suicide until, through research, she discovered a new form of non-invasive therapy being used at Centra's Piedmont Pyschiatric Center, in Lynchburg. {}"How were you feeling before the TMS treatments? 'Pretty rotten. Pretty bad'"When she met psychiatrist Dr. Michael Judd and his nurse Jill, her whole world began to change. {}What is TMS? "It uses specific pulsations to a certain area in the brain which then stimulates the metabolism and gets that part of the brain working more effectively," Dr. Judd told ABC 13 News.{}

{}"Worthlessness, helplessness," is how Lois described her feelings before the treatments. {}"The first thing that Dr. Judd said to me in the screening process is, 'Today is your first day of of hope.' And I said, 'Hope! Whoooo, what is that?'."{}Lois began the outpatient procedure at Centra's Piedmont Psychiatric Center, in May, going for daily sessions. The non invasive therapy is FDA approved for adults with major depression, that have failed at least one course of other treatment. It's non invasive and Dr. Judd says the side effects are minimal. And since it was approved in 2008, after initially being used for research purposes, more insurance companies are covering it.{}

"People come in on their lulunch hourave the treatment and then go back to work," said Dr. Judd. {}For Lois, it meant going back to a life.{}At 71, she says she's now in full remission, and thanks to a new therapy that she says gave her reason to make music once again. She plays several times a week now, with a group of classical musicians in Roanoke."TMS is to depression what penicillin was to contagious diseases."{}

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