Recent Blog Articles
3 simple swaps for better heart health
I’m too young to have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, right?
Asking about guns in houses where your child plays
Behavioral weight loss interventions: Do they work in primary care?
Who needs treatment for ocular hypertension?
The popularity of microdosing of psychedelics: What does the science say?
AFM: A scary polio-like illness
When can women with early-stage breast cancer skip radiation after lumpectomy?
Palliative care frightens some people: Here’s how it helps
The case of the bad placebo
Magnetic stimulation of the brain: An update
In recent decades, scientists have developed electrical and magnetic devices for observing the brain in action — remembering, deciding, experiencing emotion — in ways that were once unimaginable. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) are among the most revolutionary of these techniques. Changing brain activity in any meaningful or lasting way by electromagnetic means has proved more difficult, but glimmers of progress are appearing.
The chief established electromagnetic technique used in psychiatry is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in which a strong electrical current applied to the scalp induces generalized seizures (spreading to the whole brain) for the relief of severe intractable depression and other psychiatric disorders. The treatment is highly effective but produces short-term confusion and occasionally some memory loss. Patients often must be hospitalized and always require general anesthesia and muscle relaxants.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!