Just when electroconvulsive therapy is making a comeback, scientists have developed what could be a kinder, gentler alternative. Electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT or "shock therapy," is an effective treatment for severe depression. But while ECT is safe, it does require general anesthesia. And it can have some unsettling side effects, like severe (though temporary) memory loss.
Enter "transcranial magnetic stimulation." Developed to explore what different parts of the brain do, TMS may also turn out to be an effective weapon against depression. A powerful electromagnet is carefully positioned on the scalp, stimulating nearby neurons.