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Native Sun News Today: Searching for mental health treatment

A double rainbow over the Black Hills in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo: Joanne C Sullivan

Seeking the ‘Holy Grail’ for mental health
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Today
Managing Editor

RAPID CITY –– The state of depression is growing exponentially amongst Americans.

According to Dr. Stephen Manlove, depression continues to plague 30 percent of the patients he treats for major depressive disorder.

The Rapid City psychiatrist agonized for years over how to treat these patients who are resistant to conventional treatments such as antidepressant medications and cognitive therapy. That is – until now.

Manlove, who spent the last 30 years treating well over 50,000 patients for a variety of behavioral health issues said, “When you treat depression, about 30 percent of people are non-responders, even after you’ve tried all the medication and therapy options. So that’s a lot of people that I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach.”

Manlove now believes he has found what some in the mental health profession are calling “the Holy Grail of mental health” that could change the lives of those patients and others who suffer from neuro-cognitive disorders.

From his office just off Mt. Rushmore Road, at 636 St Anne St., Dr. Manlove said he had been watching the development of a new technology that utilizes electromagnetic waves to treat depression.

“About two years ago, it looked like the data was good and it looked like it was worth trying. I really wanted to see if we could help that group of people I wasn’t able to treat before,” he said.

In June of 2015, the Manlove Psychiatric Group made the decision to acquire the technology they hoped would improve the mental health of that group of people.

The technology, called Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), transmits electromagnetic pulses that stimulate the region of the brain where mood and depression originate, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex Manlove said.

“Based on imaging studies, some patients with depression experience atrophy or shrinkage of that part of the brain compared to the rest of the brain,” he explained.

During a TMS session, patients are fitted with a cushioned helmet equipped with an electromagnetic coil that is placed against the patients scalp near their forehead. Brief magnetic fields, at an amplitude similar to that used in an MRI, are generated.

“Anybody who can have an MRI scan can have TMS because it’s the same electromagnetic pulse used to produce that imaging,” he said.

Though the biology of why TMS works isn't completely understood, the stimulation appears to affect how this part of the brain is working, which in turn seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood.

“We began using it and we have had really excellent responses from the patients we treated with it. We began to see about 60 to 70 percent of the people we treated had a really good response. Those are people who failed everything else. It is really remarkable compared to other treatments. There is really not a good comparison,” he said.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Seeking the ‘Holy Grail’ for mental health

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at executiveeditor@

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