A delegation from Greece visited the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention this month to learn more about Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS).
"The Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention aims to contribute significantly to knowledge translation and training in brain stimulation and is committed to fostering relationships with the brain stimulation community worldwide, says Temerty Centre Chair, Dr. Jeff Daskalakis.
Repetitive Transcranial Magentic Stimulation stimulates an area of the brain thought to be underactive in people with depression. The treatment is non-invasive and patients experience little to no side-effects, as the magnetic stimulation is targeted to a small area of the brain.
Currently, rTMS is not being used in Greece to treat psychiatric illiness, however Hygeia, the largest private hospital in Greece, is opening an rTMS clinic in the near future, in partnership with the University of Thessely. Greek Doctors, George Papamichail, Nikolas Zygouris, and Christine Tsagaraki, want to implement an alternative treatment for depression in addition to the existing interventions of psychotherapy and medicinal treatments.
(L to R) Christine Tsagaraki, Dr. Nikolas Zygouris, Dr. George Papamichail, Dr. Jeff Daskalakis, and Dr. Daniel Blumberger
The Greek delegation initially met Dr. Daskalakis on a visit to Canada last year, when they were first investigating the opportunity of rTMS with the clinic Mind Care. They remained in contact with Dr. Daskalakis and when looking for practical experience and training, they were able to set up a week-long visit to the Temerty Centre.
The delegation was also interested in many of the clinical research projects underway to investigate the use of rTMS for the treatment of additional populations. Current populations under investigation include people with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, as well as new treatment protocols for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
Temerty Centre Manager Jennifer Bennie says, "At the end of the visit the doctors said they were impressed by how much practice they were able to get, and that they felt confident in their ability to bring rTMS to Greece.”
rTMS Technicians Caitlin Newberry and Melissa Dyck, who helped organize the visit, said they learned as much from the Greek delegation as they did from us. "It was a learning experience for us because we got to learn about the state of mental health services in Greece," says Caitlin. "I was impressed with how quickly the Greek delegation picked up the technique of rTMS despite the language barrier,” adds Melissa.
"The Temerty staff was thrilled to have participated in hosting our international guests. In the future, we look forward to expanding our network of international clinicians and scientists practicing and studying brain stimulation," says Jennifer.