Treating Adolescent Depression With TMS Therapy® – A Clinical Study

This study is now closed. We look forward to sharing the results from the Neurostar/FDA study in the near future. Please check back.


From October 2015 to January 2018, TMS Solutions was part of an FDA clinical study of teens between the ages of 12-21 who were suffering from depression.

The focus of this study was to understand the safety and effectiveness of NeuroStar TMS Therapy in adolescents suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This study was made up of participants who were:

  • Male or Female ages 12-21
  • Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder
  • Resistant to prior antidepressant medication
  • Experiencing depression lasting more than 4 weeks and less than 3 years

Study participants received at no-cost to them, the standard NeuroStar TMS Therapy treatment. The study ends in January 2018, and TMS Solutions is no longer taking applicants.

To learn more, or to follow the results on this trial, click the link to the NIH Clinical Trials page.

Safety and Effectiveness of NeuroStar® Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation -- TMS Therapy in Depressed Adolescents 


Why this clinical study matters:

Today we are seeing alarming rates of depression and it’s affects on our children and teens. Unchecked and untreated, research shows and strongly suggests that the depression will adversely affect adults and their quality of life, when these teens age.

The results from adults being treated shows that depression (MDD) is treatable in adults using TMS Therapy, a drug-free and safe alternative. Well over 24,000 people have now been treated with TMS Therapy, with over 1 millions sessions conducted.

Depression has a negative impact on families, and society at large—both emotionally and financially. But this is a drain that can be plugged!

With TMS therapy we, in our experience, have found significant improvement in more than of 50% of our patients, and more than 30% have experienced complete remission. TMS Therapy is typically treated under most insurance for adults after at least two failed courses of typical antidepressant treatment. It has not been indicated for adolescents, and it is hopeful this clinical trial may be able to extend this opportunity to affected youth.



The results of the clinical trial we were part of are being analyzed.  We are hoping those results find the same levels of success from treatment, and in the long run be fewer depressed adults. We believe that if we can turn back the tide of depression in teens that the benefits to our families and society will be huge.

So yes, we believe teen age depression is treatable…

Yet teens are under siege. They are more likely than the adult population to experience depression. Teens are also at a greater risk of suicide.

Here is where things get muddled and more dangerous. A teen may be depressed and get treatment, perhaps counseling, or an antidepressant will be prescribed. However, on the side of many of the prescriptions is a warning. According to an article on the Mayo clinic website,

The warnings call attention to the fact that children, teenagers and young adults under 25 might have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed.

Keep in mind that antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicide risk in the long run by improving mood”


"The statistics show that counseling will help about 50% of teens suffering from depression."


According to columnist Kalman Heller, counseling will help about 50% of teens who suffer from depression. The flip side is 50% will not be helped and need some other type of treatment to overcome the disease.



Facts about adolescent depression

  • Approximately 20 percent of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood
  • Between 10 to 15 percent suffer from symptoms at any one time (Mar 4, 2010
  • According to, a teen takes his or her own life every 100 minutes. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.
  • It is estimated that about 10 to 15 percent of children and teens are depressed at any given time.
  • Research indicates that one of every four adolescents will have an episode of major depression during high school with the average age of onset being 14 years!


Depression facts

  • Adolescent Females are three times more likely than males to suffer from depression.
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • Depression has no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries.
  • Researchers estimate that by the year 2030, depression will be the leading cause of "disease burden", which impacts the length and health of lives worldwide.

Causes of depression

While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that it is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells.



Frequently Asked Questions About Depression

What is Major Depression?

Depression is a serious medical illness that lasts two weeks or more and interferes with a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks and enjoy activities that previously brought pleasure.

The United States National Institute of Mental Health maintains that, “Depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally.” Depression causes pain and suffering not only to those who have the disorder, but to those who care about them. Depression can be a lethal disease leading to more than 1 million deaths from suicide each year. Along with being a huge economic burden, depression is a leading cause of disease burden and disability around the world. Researchers estimate that by the year 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disease burden worldwide.

What are the current approved treatments for depression?

There are non-drug and drug therapies available to treat depression. Depression is often initially treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy) and antidepressant medication administered together. Although antidepressants can be effective for some patients, they do not work for everybody. Additionally, antidepressants often result in unwanted side effects.




What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses short pulses of a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain thought to control mood. The pulsed magnetic field may have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitter levels.
Is there a cure for depression?

If a person has a first depression there is a 50% chance it will not return, which means there is a 50% chance it will return. If a person has a depression for a second time there is a 75% chance the depression will return and if a person has had a third depression there is a 93% chance the depression will return.  We think that 93% chance is too low but is the extent of the research follow-up.  As such, depression is a chronic and recurring illness.  Chronic, meaning that we cannot cure it and recurring, meaning a person with this type depression is off their medicine, the depression will return.

Are some people more likely to become depressed than others?
Yes, depression is known to have a hereditary component so depression may occur in some people who have a particular genetic makeup that makes them more likely to develop depression.  Recent genetic studies have found certain DNA fragments called alleles which can significantly increase a person’s risk of depression as well as their likely response to medications. There are an increasing number of genetic tests that can assess whether a person is a slow metabolizer of a medication, meaning there will be a larger amount of medicine than normal in the bloodstream and less medicine would be needed to reach therapeutic levels.   Similarly, doctors can test if a person is a rapid metabolizer of the medicine, meaning there would be less medication than normal in a person’s blood stream, thus the person may need to take more medicine to reach a therapeutic level.  However, the exact nature of these genetic characteristics is not known. Other factors may contribute to an individual’s likelihood of experiencing depression. Some other risk factors include:


  • Individuals suffering from certain medical illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders
  • Individuals experiencing serious personal losses, difficult relationships, financial problems, or any stressful changes in life pattern
  • Individuals taking certain medications that may increase their vulnerability to depression
Are there drug-free alternative treatments?

Many patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressant medication and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them.1 For these patients, alternative treatments that involve the use of a medical device are available. These treatments include:

Testimonies About TMS Therapy Beating Depression

"I have experienced ongoing depression for over 15 years. I enjoy the beach, boating, and traveling. Unfortunately, my depression made all of these very difficult for me. It affected my quality of life as well as my career. At about the 8th(TMS) treatment, I noticed a difference. My quality of life had improved and I didn’t have any side effects from the treatment."


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“I’ve been clinically depressed 3-4 times, each time lasting 2-3 years…after I read some of the literature including the testimonials I decided to try NeuroStar TMS Therapy.

After about the second week of treatment and for the first two to three hours after I left the office I felt uplifted. The feeling remained and I started to feel better. I also didn’t get so concerned with stressful events and I worried less. It has been a year since my treatments and I can’t say I am depressed anymore. Previously, I was taking several different medications just to get some kind of relief. With NeuroStar TMS, I saw beneficial effects quicker than the medications and counseling – and there weren’t really side effects.”


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