Jul 01 2013

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Autism

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14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Autism”

  1. DOYLEon 01 Jul 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Has there been specific exploration of any link between mirror neuron activity and autism.If so would tms be able to improve mirror neuron response.

  2. SARAon 01 Jul 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I guess I’ve been reading you too long. Because it didn’t sound science based, it sounded marketing based to me.

    The whole tone sounds like they are advertising a new face cream or shampoo to me.

    But I suppose when you are desperate, you latch onto anything that supports your hope and that is why they will probably be very successful. There are lots of desperate people and just enough cretins to feed on them.

  3. Mlemaon 01 Jul 2013 at 11:24 pm

    “Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a legitimate, cutting edge treatment modality.”

    I think that may be a typo, and you probably meant “diagnostic modality”.

    I don’t see the promise for TMS in treating depression, based on the research. Looks like wishful thinking to me. :)

    Also, regarding ECT, I’m wondering what’s the science behind referring to ECT as “brain stimulation treatments”.

  4. rocken1844on 01 Jul 2013 at 11:26 pm

    So some groups can bypass, as you specify, ” Advances in medicine need to be peer reviewed, examined by the community, and replicated.”, by receiving a medical-use-patent?

  5. skeplankeron 02 Jul 2013 at 2:21 am

    This is their old website, for some reason not linked to anymore: http://autism.braintreatmentcenter.com/

    The entire “MRT” protocol page (http://autism.braintreatmentcenter.com/MRT_Protocol.php) seems to have been written by a random buzzword generator.

    In particular, the “music” part of the treatment (http://autism.braintreatmentcenter.com/Autism_Treatment_Procedure.php) is firmly based in magical thinking, with prior plausibility approaching 1/G, with G = Graham’s number.

  6. steve12on 02 Jul 2013 at 2:54 pm

    This makes me think of Daniel Amen – they guy who does the informercial on PBS. Take legitimate neuroscience / imaging technologies to make things seem “cutting edge”, misrepresent their clinical applications via some nonsense proprietary “method” and voila! cash. Lots of cash.

  7. Bruce Woodwardon 03 Jul 2013 at 3:43 am

    How do magnets work though?!

  8. daedalus2uon 03 Jul 2013 at 8:58 am

    TMS actually uses very high strength magnetic fields, with a high time derivative such that currents and voltages are induced in the brain across a quite large air-gap.

    The degree of prior plausibility for using TMS for anything is small. It can’t stimulate specific brain regions, the current loops are necessarily large and the magnetic fields and field gradients are inches away from the regions being stimulated.

    Any mechanism of action is probably similar to ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, which also doesn’t treat specific brain regions.

  9. steve12on 03 Jul 2013 at 11:44 am

    “It can’t stimulate specific brain regions”

    Actually – guided by previously recorded fMRI activations TMS can be fairly precise. Precise enough to induce only your index finger to twitch by exposing the corresponding contralateral motor strip to the field.

    It’s currently used in research in a knock out sort of way to show causal (as opposed to simply looking at neural correlates) relationships between given brain regions and certain cognitive functions. Pretty cool stuff.

  10. rogeron 05 Nov 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Hi I read this and looked into it. I found this article that was accepted for publication last month, Oct 2013:

    A double-blind, randomized trial of deep repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for autism spectrum disorder



    Participants in the active condition showed a near significant reduction in self-reported social relating symptoms from pre-treatment to one month follow-up, and a significant reduction in social relating symptoms (relative to sham participants) for both post-treatment assessments. Those in the active condition also showed a reduction in self-oriented anxiety during difficult and emotional social situations from pre-treatment to one month follow-up. There were no changes for those in the sham condition.


    Deep rTMS to bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex yielded a reduction in social relating impairment and socially-related anxiety. Further research in this area should employ extended rTMS protocols that approximate those used in depression in an attempt to replicate and amplify the clinical response.

  11. C.Jon 25 Dec 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Unbelievable! This is the first and only promising treatment for autism in about a two decades, and this guy can only think of the negative things to say about it.

    Not surprising, the medical community just wants people to keep paying for “treatments” which don’t actually work. Things like therapy and special education. That’s why parents and patients are getting fed up, and trying their luck with anything, including going overseas for stem cell treatment.

    There is enough proof that TMS works, so far. There have been a few studies published on this, like the one roger mentioned above. Also, look up John Elder Robison talks about TMS on Youtube.

  12. C.Jon 26 Dec 2013 at 1:14 am

    And another thing, he even goes on to say that TMS for depression is “unethical”. Really? By whose standards?

    There are plenty of people who have given their opinions on the internet who have claimed to have tried it and said that it works. But nah, I guess that’s just unethical.

    Why is it that whenever there’s a new treatment out that is shown to work, those in medical research are always quick to jump on it and criticize it and find the negatives?

  13. C.Jon 27 Dec 2013 at 1:34 am

    Check this study out, which was conducted in Melbourne, and published 2013.


  14. CHo1on 05 Jun 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Dear Dr. Novella,

    We appreciate your thoughts related to our MRT treatment. This pushed us to conduct a formal RCT in Autism with kids from 4 to 12 years old using MRT. This is a triple blind study rigorously controlled trial for severity of symptoms and gender and age. Attached below is our press release with a brief description of our results. We understand this is a small n(28) study which cannot be generalized to apply to the entire population of ASD. However these findings very closely resemble our clinical data of over 700 cases of children with autism treated at our centers from 2005 to present. Rady Childrens hospital and UCSD are aware of our MRT-001 study results and are preparing to conduct a large n(400) RCT to validate our preliminary findings. We know this is limited but we believe this is a very important beginning of a novel treatment for ASD. We will look forward to your continued comments and criticism as we move forward.


    Conway Ho
    CEO of NBRL

    MRT-001 Results


    May 25, 2014
    Contact: Robert Silvetz M.D. , info@braintreatmentcenter.com

    Jin Unveils Results of Magnetic Resonance Therapy Double-Blind Study to Treat Autism

    Newport Beach, CA — This week at the 2014 Autism One conference in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Yi Jin presented his data, “MRT-001“, which summarizes the results of a 28-patient double-blind pilot study using Magnetic Resonance Therapy to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder. In this trial, 40% of the patients became neurotypical by CARS score, another 40% improved their symptoms by 30%, and 20% of the patients did not respond.
    Magnetic Resonance Therapy (MRT SM) is an emerging, novel form of patient-specific, non-invasive neuro-modulation treatment for neurological disorders for the large number of patients worldwide for which conventional medical, surgical, and therapy treatments have offered very little hope. MRT SM treatment was developed by the “Newport Brain Research Lab” (NBRL), a consortium of scientists, researchers and university professors based in Newport Beach, California. The NBRL operates a number of national and international outpatient clinics, under the name “The Brain Treatment Center (BTC)”.
    In MRT SM treatment, BTC has augmented the well-established and safe technique of trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) through a proprietary algorithm to deliver a patient-specific treatment based on the results of a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) and electrocardiography (ECG).
    “What the Brain Treatment Center has done is revolutionary. Using evidence-based principles with TMS, they have created a delivery system that customizes treatment based on the patient’s own QEEG”, says Dr. Kevin T. Murphy, Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, UC San Diego Medical Center. “Addressing the core frequency mismatch that occurs in various parts of the brain, and not the patient’s symptoms per se, allows this system to be potentially useful in numerous psychological and neurological disorders, from autism to Alzheimers.”
    The delivered magnetic stimulus appears agnostic to the diagnosis of the brain disorder treated. Whether the patient is suffering from depression or anxiety or autism, the “syncing” of the brain created by this technique, results in a reduction in brain frequency mismatch, and ultimately improves the patient’s symptoms and the underlying disorder.
    “This non-invasive, personalized form of neuro-modulation is very patient-specific, and has far-reaching clinical implications”, says Dr. Charles Liu, Professor of Neurological Surgery, Neurology, and Biomedical Engineering and Director of the University of Southern California Center for Neurorestoration, Los Angeles, California. “As neurosurgeons, we are quite proficient at addressing the anatomical basis of disease. However, direct augmentation and restoration the functionality of the nervous system using
    non-invasive neuro-modulation informed by recordings from each patient’s brain is an exceptionally exciting field in the future of clinical neurosciences. The initial clinical experience with MRT SM treatment, including the pilot study on autism patients by Dr. Jin, has been overwhelmingly positive and clearly supports a systematic and rigorous evaluation of this approach, representing tremendous hope to a large number of patients worldwide.” Preliminary research in MRT SM treatment has yielded dramatic and lasting results. “I just had to experience this myself, in my own clinic, with my own patients in order to process it”, says Dr. Murphy, whose nine-year old son was successfully treated by BTC for Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
    “This is an exciting paradigm-shifter in medicine. We like to know exactly how our medicines and treatment interventions help our patients, spending enormous amounts of time and resources elucidating the cellular mechanisms and biochemistry. And yet, after expending all of this time and effort, sometimes careers spent doing so, we often apply these medicines to our patients and achieve sub-optimal outcomes. At the moment, I cannot tell you the exact mechanism of how this is working, but I can tell you that the patient evidence in front of me is extremely compelling”, says Dr. Murphy.

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