University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics conducting study to potentially treat certain brain disorders

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is conducting a study on the brain- and it hopes that the study could eventually provide treatment for certain disorders.

Dr. Nicholas Trapp, left, prepares to demonstrate transcranial magnetic stimulation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on September 6, 2019. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)

"The treatment researchers are looking at is called transcranial magnetic stimulation, more commonly referred to as TMS. The form of treatment sends pulses to the brain, and in 2008 was approved by the FDA as a way to treat certain forms of depression.

Now, researchers at UIHC want to know just how effective the treatment can be with other brain disorders, specifically autism, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Researchers with the project are hoping to recruit people above the age of 18 to participate in the study, which they have already been working on for about two years.

In a very simple sense, the treatment works by taking a coil to the cerebellum area of the brain, by placing a unit against the back of a person's head. A signal is then sent to the brain. The study would require a person to get the treatment twice a day for a week to study the long-term results.

Dr. Nicholas Trapp, a psychiatrist with UIHC, also serves as one of the researchers in the study. He hopes a study like this could prove that the TMS treatment could end up changing more people's lives in the future.

"Really this is a relatively small study in the grand scheme of clinical trials to really try to understand what is this area of the brain doing and when we probe it with a device called TMS, what kind of changes are we inducing," Dr. Trapp said.

For more information, people can contact the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Clinic at UIHC.