[American Psychological Association] Can magnets cure depression?

Sharon Gray* has had depression for most of her life. She was first diagnosed at 30, but she believes her depression started much earlier. Now 61, the retired police lieutenant from Columbus, Ohio, has seen clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and taken antidepressant medication for most of the last three decades. The treatments have left her functional, she says, but still mildly depressed. Every so often, she’s suffered periods of more severe depression.

In 2007, desperate for a new option, she flew to Atlanta for a therapy that, at the time, was still experimental: transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. Just past the halfway point in the monthlong course of treatment, “I had what I thought were miraculous improvements,” Gray says. “I went to sleep on a Tuesday night depressed, and woke up Wednesday morning not depressed.”

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