University of Southern Queensland and Belmont Private Hospital Collaborate to Improve rTMS Therapy to Treat Depression Using AI

The University of South Queensland and Belmont Private Hospital, one of Australia’s largest private hospitals, have teamed up to develop an AI model that will improve repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy for the treatment of depression .

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

RTMS is a non-invasive brain stimulation procedure for the treatment of depression and other mental health disorders. It uses magnetic fields to repeatedly stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.

According to the USQ press release, a standard rTMS course consists of 20 sessions lasting 20 to 40 minutes each. The procedure, according to Raj Gururajan, professor of information systems at USQ, is “very long, therefore expensive”.

Led by Professor Gururajan, the development of AI algorithms has the potential to save patients and healthcare systems time and money, while improving outcomes. To do this, it informs processing decisions by recognizing the patterns of data collected during previous processing.

THE BIGGEST TREND

In May, Australia’s universal health insurance plan Medicare announced it would add four rTMS therapy services to its benefit plan starting November 1. It will subsidize the costs of these services for eligible patients diagnosed with drug-resistant major depressive disorder.

ON THE RECORD

“RTMS is quickly becoming a leading medical treatment for depression, but since it is a relatively new procedure, there are still ways to improve its diagnosis, treatment, and outcome prediction. Our goal is to develop cutting-edge algorithms that will inform psychiatrists about the most appropriate stimulation duration for an individual patient at the start of treatment, ”said Prof Gururajan.

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