FDA approves helmet to treat OCD in Anchorage

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Those who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and don't want to take medication, or have and it's failed, now have an option with a groundbreaking treatment. Brainsways Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Helmet, or TMS, has been proven to provide remission from OCD-related symptoms. TMS is over 50% effective as opposed to medication for OCD, which only 38% and has side effects.


The helmet targets an area of the brain that controls OCD and sends deep magnetic pulses to that region. Treatment is 5 days a week for 20 minutes for 6 weeks. It's non-invasive and patients are awake the entire time. Howard Chaitoff, a Physician Assistant at TMS Center of Alaska, said what's unique about the treatment is doctors have what's called a provocation script, meaning in order to treat the behavior, they have to trigger it first.

"When you come in if your obsession-compulsion is cleaning contamination then we would ask you to think about those things you had to do on the way into the building, touching the door handles into the building, pushing the button on the elevator, I might have a tissue on the floor that I'd ask you to pick up and put on the table," he said.

Chaitoff explained the only side effect or symptom patients have experienced was a little discomfort because of the magnetic pulses, but it went away after a couple days. OCD is a neurological disease that if not treated can be a lifelong chronic disease. TMS Center of Alaska is one of the first facilities in the country to offer it this new treatment.

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