Magnetic seizure therapy: Towards personalized seizure therapy for major depression


Magnetic seizure therapy (MST) is a noninvasive neuromodulation therapy under investigation for the treatment of severe neuropsychiatric disorders. MST involves inducing a therapeutic seizure under anesthesia in a setting similar to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). To date, randomized controlled trials suggest that MST has similar antidepressant efficacy as ECT, but without significant cognitive adverse effects. Large scale clinical trials are currently underway to confirm these preliminary findings. So far, there has only been one study evaluating the clinical predictors of response to MST and more research is needed. This study found that patients with fewer episodes of depression and a positive family history of depression had a better response to MST. Overall, the ability of MST to focus the delivery of the electric field and the resultant seizure makes targeting seizure therapy to specific brain regions possible, and further research will be helpful in identifying personalized targets to maximize clinical benefit. In this review, we describe MST methodology and how it could be individualized to each patient. We also summarize the clinical and cognitive effects of MST and provide indications of which patients may be most likely to benefit. Finally, we summarize the studied neurophysiological predictors of response.

Personalized Medicine in Psychiatry