MRI scans, as a method of treatment for depression were discovered accidentally, like many discoveries on Medicine. These scans were then studied and led to serious research and finally a new cure for depression. Brain scans are usually an unpleasant experience for most people, but this proved different for people who were suffering from bipolar disease or different kinds of depression. Various studies (from 2009 to present days) claim “Antidepressant effects of magnetic resonance imaging-based stimulation on major depressive disorder”.
They found that people in the scanner group improved much more than those in the sham group over two weeks. Actually there were two different kinds of scans, T1 structural MRI and EPI functional MRI, but they were the same:
Now, if this were true, it would be huge. For one thing, it would undermine the whole premise of functional MRI, which is that it’s a method of recording brain activity. If it’s also stimulating the brain in some way at the same time, then it would make it hard to interpret those activations. In particular it would cast all the studies using MRI in depression into doubt.
So is it true? One can’t see any obvious flaws in the design. Assuming that the authors of these studies are right when they say that “patients could not distinguish the difference between the actual and sham MRI scan”, i.e. assuming that the blind was truly blind, then the methodology was sound. So we can say that the debate is still on debate for years: That’s really a fact.
Now let watch a video about MRI: