depression is a serious medical disorder affecting more than 14 million
American adults every year. Often a debilitating condition, depression
results in a persistent state of sadness which interferes with an individual's
thoughts, behavior, mood and physical health.
treatment for sufferers involves pharmaceutical products prescribed by
physicians that are sometimes required for extended periods of time. Medications and professional counseling will
help usually help patients manage the negative effects of depression but for
some, anti-depressants fail to provide improvement. Extreme cases can result in complete
incapacitation of the patient and hospitalization.
alternative to the pharmaceutical approach to depression treatment, Neuronetics
Corporation of Malvern, PA, has designed the NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic
stimulation) Therapy System. TMS is a non-invasive, non-systemic treatment for
depression that applies a highly focused, pulsed magnetic field to stimulate
function in targeted brain regions. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is performed in a
physician's office. Each treatment lasts about 40 minutes and takes place daily
for four to six weeks. To date,
Neurostar reports that there are have been none of the physical effects reported
that are commonplace with drug treatment. Patients can immediately return to
normal daily activities. Designing the TMS Device
developing the TMS treatment needed a reliable means of holding the treatment
coil in place during therapy sessions and turned to Ogura Industrial
Corporation for suggestions. This was a major design consideration as it is
necessary for the magnetic treatment coil to be able to be positioned in
different axes of motion to accommodate the different physical characteristics
of individual patients.
patient is reclined in the treatment chair, the treatment coil is positioned so
that magnetic pulses are focused on specific regions of the brain. It is critical that, once the coil is
positioned and therapy commences, no slipping or wandering of focus location occurs. The magnetic pulses generated by the treatment
coil must remain on the targeted area of the brain.
spring-applied brakes from Ogura were selected to hold the mast and gantry arm of
the TMS securely during the therapy sessions. These brakes, designed for
holding and emergency braking, are considered power-off brakes in that no power
is needed to hold the brake, due the use of a spring to keep it in place.
This was an
important consideration in the TMS design, since quiet operation is essential
in a therapeutic environment. Since the RNB power-off brakes are only energized
when the treatment coil is being positioned, the treatment coil, once put into
place, is held securely in place with no electrical noise or "hum" to distract
RNB is a power-off brake, there is also no electrical signal to interfere with
the TMS system during use. Power is only
applied to release the brake when the treatment coil is adjusted to the
individual patient. When power is
removed, springs apply the friction surfaces locking the mast and gantry arm in
place until the therapy session is completed. In addition, the zero backlash feature of the
RNB design eliminated the possibility of flutter or drift of the gantry arm and
mast during operation.
was not a primary design consideration, cost of operation of the RNB is
negligible. Power consumption is minimized since the RNB is only energized
while adjusting the system to the individual patient. During treatment the RNB is static, stable, non-interfering