Dr. Abraham ZangenThe MIT Technology Review article A Gentler Way to Jump-Start the Brain: Scientists in Israel are testing a noninvasive method to electrically stimulate neurons deep in the brain said
Electrically shocking the brain is often the only recourse for people suffering from severe, untreatable depression. While standard antidepressants have little effect on these patients, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can sometimes jump-start the brain, lifting people out of depression, at least for a while. But ECT can also carry some serious side effects, including seizures and memory loss.
Instead, Abraham Zangen, one of two inventors of Brainsway’s deep TMS approach, and his colleagues designed a new coil configuration that is able to excite neurons at a depth of four centimeters, using the same intensity of current used in standard TMS coils. Instead of a single coil generating a single magnetic field through the brain, Zangen has outfitted a helmet with a number of small coils, each producing a separate magnetic field. As researchers run a standard current through the helmet, the coils, which are connected in a series, produce multiple fields that add up, generating a much stronger magnetic field that goes deeper into the brain before dropping off.
Abraham Zangen, Ph.D. is Head, Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann
Institute of Science, Israel.
He is on the Editorial Board of
Brain Stimulation and holds patent
Transcranial magnetic stimulation system and methods.
Mood-altering drugs have become an unavoidable part of the modern landscape. Whether they come in the form of medically-supervised anti-depressants, or as illegal substances obtained on the street, these drugs affect emotions by altering neurochemical and electrophysiological activities of the brain. Impaired function of the brain reward system is implicated in both depression and addiction, and these two states have documented comorbidity. The neurochemical changes induced in the brain as a result of these two conditions can be viewed as an expression of brain plasticity.
His lab studies focus on these two alterations in the reward system: depression and addiction. His main goal is the study of the mechanisms by which the brain reward system affects mood and motivation by using animal models for depression and addiction. In addition he seeks to develop new methods to examine neuronal processes at the root of depressive behavior and drug addiction, thereby finding new treatments for these devastating disorders.
Abraham coauthored Repeated Electrical Stimulation of Reward-Related Brain Regions Affects Cocaine But Not “Natural” Reinforcement, Two Brain Sites for Cannabinoid Reward, A Coil Design for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of Deep Brain Regions, Alterations in Endogenous Brain beta-Endorphin Release by Adrenal Medullary Transplants in the Spinal Cord, A Direct Chemical Interaction between Dynorphin and Excitatory Amino Acids, and High Serotonin and 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid Levels in Limbic Brain Regions in a Rat Model of Depression: Normalization by Chronic Antidepressant Treatment.
Watch Deep Magnetic Brain Stimulation and Israeli scientists probe deeper into human brain to battle depression.
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