HARBIN - A therapeutic apparatus to treat depression has been developed in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, government sources said Saturday.
The apparatus, which claims to be the world's first instrument to treat clinical depression, combines transcranial magnetic stimulation and music therapy. An evaluation report by the provincial committee of industry and information technology called it a worldwide breakthrough.
The report, released on Thursday, confirmed that the apparatus is applicable to patients suffering from mild and moderate clinical depression.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive method that causes depolarization in the brains' neurons so as to restore the functions of brain nerves.
The apparatus consists of three parts, a transcranial magnetic stimulator, an audio frequency generator, and a brain wave stimulator. The magnetic wave and audio signal stimulate the brain and the audio system of the human body so as to adjust the activity of central nervous system.
This is a new method to treat depression, in addition to the current medical therapy and psychological counselling, said Sun Zuodong, chairman of Aobo Medicine Apparatus, the developer based in Harbin.
Resembling a headphone, it will generate "prescriptive music" through an electromagnetic field to a patient during the therapy, Sun said.
Clinical depression is a mental disorder of the neural system, in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for long periods of time. Experts predict that 13 to 20 percent of the world's population will experience depression once in their life by 2020.