Using Rapid-Acting Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 2:00 pm EDT
Meet the Scientist - May 2021

There is a widely acknowledged need for new, effective antidepressant treatments. Past research has demonstrated that a form of FDA-approved non-invasive brain stimulation called rTMS could be optimized to better treat depression as well as other psychiatric disorders. Our team has tested the hypothesis that the effectiveness of rTMS could be enhanced with a new treatment protocol involving multiple non-invasive brain-stimulation sessions at spaced intervals throughout the day delivered over the course of five consecutive days, providing patients with significantly more total stimulation, and targeted individually in each patient based on brain scans obtained prior to the start of treatments. We recently completed a randomized controlled trial to determine the antidepressant response of this novel protocol, called SAINT. As I will report in the webinar, we found that it had a profound and rapid effect in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

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Presented by 
Nolan R. Williams, M.D.
Nolan R. Williams, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Stanford University Medical Center

2019 Klerman Prize for Exceptional Clinical Research

2018, 2016 Young Investigator Grant

Dr. Williams is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Director of the Stanford Brain Stimulation Lab. Dr. Williams has a broad background in neuropsychiatry and is double board-certified in both neurology and psychiatry. In addition, he has specific training and clinical expertise in the development of brain stimulation methodologies under Mark George, MD. Themes of his work include (a) examining the use of spaced learning theory in the application of neurostimulation techniques, (b) development and mechanistic understanding of rapid-acting antidepressants, and (c) identifying objective biomarkers that predict neuromodulation responses in treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric conditions. He has published papers in high impact peer-reviewed journals including Brain, American Journal of Psychiatry, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He has also contributed to two reviews related to novel therapeutics for neuropsychiatric conditions that have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Current Opinion in Neurobiology, which are both highly cited.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.