One in 54 children will end up with an autism diagnosis, a dramatic increase since a few years ago when one in 150 children were diagnosed with autism.
This increase in cases is not only due to increased prevalence but also increased diagnostic abilities. Doctors are now more effectively able to diagnose and treat autism. This is thanks to a better understanding of the disorder and new technological advancements.
While there used to be little hope of managing autism, there are now a few options for treatment, including MeRT and TMS. If you’ve never heard either term or are wondering about MeRT vs TMS and what the differences are, read on for a comprehensive guide!
What Is TMS?
Your brain has billions of neurons that manage your thoughts, functions, mood, speech, and more. They do this by communicating with each other. When some neurons aren’t communicating, these functions can all be impacted.
TMS works by strengthening weakened pathways between neurons. To put it simply, if you’re diagnosed with depression, TMS will strengthen the neural activity on your happiness pathways.
TMS is short for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It can also be referred to as rTMS, or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS uses magnets to stimulate nerves in the brain to manage symptoms of mental disorders.
A doctor will place an electromagnetic coil near the forehead. The coil will painlessly deliver repetitive magnetic pulses to the brain. These pulses stimulate the nerves that control mood.
TMS is highly effective for depression, even if the depression resists other treatments. TMS can also treat anxiety, OCD, Parkinson’s disease, autism, and more with success.
The specific mechanisms for the success of TMS aren’t fully understood and research is still ongoing. It’s thought that the effectiveness of TMS is due to the stimulation of the prefrontal cortex, increased release of dopamine, and improving neural connections.
TMS and Autism
Autism presents a spectrum of symptoms treatable by TMS. The primary symptoms are difficulty with social skills, interaction, speech, and repetitive behaviors.
Of course, autism exists as a spectrum and there are many different types of autism. Each person with autism has different challenges and different levels of functionality.
This is why there are very few autism-specific treatments available. And the ones that are available are not very effective. TMS is revolutionary in that it is very effective in minimizing the broad range of symptoms of autism.
Consider how TMS can improve motor function in Parkinson’s and OCD patients by strengthening motor control pathways. In a similar way, it can reduce repetitive behaviors in autistic patients.
Similarly, it can reduce anxiety, improve mood swings, and generally reduces the severity of symptoms with a high success rate. TMS is non-invasive. It requires no sedation and there are no reported incidences of severe side effects.
What Is MeRT Therapy?
MeRT stands for Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy. MeRT is an improved and specialized version of TMS and is able to be fine-tuned. Doctors can meet the needs of specific patients by adjusting frequency, location, and power.
Before the magnetic resonance is applied, several assessments are performed.
First, a qEEG is a non-invasive test that maps brainwaves. It’s performed by applying electrodes along the scalp. An ECG/EKG is also performed, measuring the electrical signals around the brain.
Together, the qEEG and ECG map the individual’s brain pattern, activity, and function. After analysis, the doctor can establish the ideal neural synchronization and can target the magnetic resonance appropriately.
This allows for more targeted and significant improvement of symptoms. MeRT has been proven incredibly effective for depression, OCD, and other mental disorders.
MeRT and Autism
MeRT is an effective treatment for those with autism who are five years or older. It’s been approved by the FDA in the treatment of a range of brain disorders and has shown significant and long-term improvement for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
For example, many patients with autism struggle with language and communication. The qEEG and ECG will identify the areas of the brain that aren’t communicating properly and form a plan to stimulate them and strengthen their connection.
MeRT can therefore target the specific language-related brain area, and improve communication skills.
The treatment usually takes about six to eight weeks with an annual follow-up. The appointments range from 30 to 45 minutes, and significant improvement can be observed within the first few weeks.
MeRT vs TMS
As you can tell, comparing MeRT and TMS head-on is difficult. This is because MeRT is a form of TMS and can be considered a more unique and targeted version of TMS.
TMS is a generalized approach and can neuromodulate single areas of the brain with a single frequency. MeRT can be made more sensitive to individual patients, addressing specific frequency and locations.
Are There Any Side Effects?
MeRT and TMS are both considered very safe. Side effects are mild and few.
The most common is a mild headache at the site of treatment. The headache is easily treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
Some patients also experience heightened hyperactivity, agitation, or euphoria. There’s also a very low risk of seizures.
Because MeRT and TMS are so low risk, they’re considered a safe and non-invasive treatment option for mental health disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Both are also safe for children.
Experience Relief From Autism Symptoms Today!
If you or your child suffers from autism symptoms, you might have thought there was no treatment available. But, given the new technological advancements, help is available to everyone.Now that you know the differences and similarities of MeRT vs TMS for treating autism, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Brain Center TMS. We can walk you through your options for a treatment plan.