A new machine which makes use of magnetic fields to treat severe depression has been introduced at Mater Dei. The machine, a MagVenture MagPro, will be used to treat people with treatment-resistant depression, where regular antidepressant medication simply doesn’t work as intended.
The €37,000 machine was entirely financed by the Malta Community Chest Fund. During the official unveiling of the new machinery, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said that this was a conscious decision to support Malta’s mental health services, which had previously expressed the need to upgrade their equipment.
Mental Health Services Chairman Anton Grech said that some 12 patients will be making use of the new treatment at Mater Dei on a weekly basis, with its nearest equivalent (Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT) being also carried out at Mount Carmel Hospital.
Established in 2007, MagVenture specialise in non-invasive magnetic stimulation systems for depression treatment and clinical examination, while also carrying out neurology research of their own. The Danish company develops a wide range of advanced medial equipment based on the use of pulsating magnetic fields, and their machines are used worldwide, from the USA to Asia.
MagVenture’s machines are specifically dedicated to the treatment of major depressive disorders, through a system called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS). With a built-in computer and after an anaesthetic dose, the machine can deliver stimulation rates of up to 100 pulses per second.