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Study Information

Advanced technology is making a difference in treating depression.

Evidence suggests that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) yields positive results in the treatment of major depressive disorder that has not been successfully relieved through standard therapies. TMS is not currently FDA approved for patients who have bipolar disorder. The Project: Balanced Mind research study explores whether a new kind of TMS is an effective treatment for those with bipolar disorder who are experiencing an episode of depression.

If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are not getting relief from your depression symptoms, we’d like to introduce you to Project: Balanced Mind, a research initiative created by Butler Hospital and Brown University researchers.

Eligibility Criteria

The study is open to people age 18 to 70 years old and:

  • Are diagnosed with Type 1 bipolar disorder.
  • Have had an active depressive episode.
  • Are currently taking an adequate dosage of a mood stabilizer medication.


Participants are given a $25 gift card for each MRI scan that is completed. The TMS treatments are given at no charge.

More Information/FAQ

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

TMS is a treatment for depression that works through the interactions of magnetic energy pulses with the brain. TMS activates certain brain circuits with magnetic fields that penetrate through the scalp and skull to brain areas associated with mood regulation. A company called NeoSync has developed a device called “NEST” that delivers a new type of TMS therapy. This new TMS is characterized by low intensity magnetic fields that are synchronized to match the patient’s own brain rhythms. NEST TMS has proven to work for patients with unipolar forms of depression. Now NEST TMS is being evaluated as a treatment for bipolar depression.

How does the TMS process work during the research study?

Participants sit in a comfortable chair in a reclined position, fully awake and alert. A part of the NEST TMS device is rested on the top of the patient’s forehead before starting the 30-minute session. The patient does not feel anything special happening while waves of magnetic energy from the device stimulate the brain. NEST TMS treatments are painless and do not require surgery or sedation. During the study period, no new medications are introduced and people continue to the take the same medications they were on before the study.

How long will the research last?

The study consists of up to 6 weeks of daily (Monday through Friday) 40-minute sessions. Also there is a MRI brain scan done before the first treatment and after the last treatment. Interviews and symptom questionnaires are used to measure changes in depression symptoms.

Butler Hospital

Area of Study

Recruitment Status