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A last-resort treatment for those crippled by depression

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ At TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, technician Alisson Stauffer helps Carly Rich prepare for her session of transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy with a NeuroStar device.

A Greater Lehigh Valley psychiatrist has been treating stubborn cases of severe clinical depression since 2011 with significant results using a noninvasive, nondrug therapy.

A Greater Lehigh Valley psychiatrist has been treating stubborn cases of severe clinical depression since 2011 with significant results using a noninvasive, nondrug therapy.

Dr. Paul Gross, a psychiatrist and medical director and founder of the TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, specializes in transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, or TMS, to treat patients with severe clinical depression. TMS is similar to magnetic resonance imaging, as it uses a strong magnetic field during treatment.

A general psychiatrist for 40 years, Gross was intrigued by the treatment with a NeuroStar Advanced Therapy device after he discovered it during a physician’s conference several years ago. He appears to be the only psychiatrist in the region offering TMS to patients and has treated about 350 people.

“When I saw a demonstration of the NeuroStar unit, I was skeptical,” Gross said, of his introduction to TMS and the unit he uses in his Allentown practice.

However, conversations with other physicians were compelling and persuaded Gross to bring the treatment to his practice in 2011.

He’s discovered it has had life-changing results for patients.

“This is for patients who have run out of options and are still facing stubborn [crippling] depression,” Gross said.

TMS machines are made by two companies, NeuroStar of Malvern and Israel-based Brainsway, and both have been proven to be effective in the treatment for depression.

NeuroStar TMS treatments are approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration to treat major depressive disorder which does not respond to antidepressant medications, according to Dr. Mark Demitrack, chief medical officer of NeuroStar Advanced Therapy.

He said that about 700 NeuroStar units operate throughout the country with more than 1 million NeuroStar treatments given to patients.

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