‘Multi-moment non-invasive neurostimulation’ – a controlled study of a new treatment for depression
background Depressive symptoms occur frequently in Dutch society. Recently a new method for treating depressive symptoms was introduced in the Netherlands. The method, known as ‘multi-moment non-invasive neurostimulation’ (mnns), involves presenting patients with a series of photographs, each picture having a positive valence. The purpose of this method is to improve the mood of patients. So far, however, the method has not been thoroughly tested.
aim To conduct a pilot study designed to compare the effectiveness of mnns pictures with pictures from the International Affective Pictures System (iaps) by means of a double-blind randomised controlled trial.
method Thirty-three patients with depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to two groups, one representing the experimental condition (mnns) and the other the control condition (iaps). Patients were treated for six weeks in one mood-inductive session per week. The severity of the patients’ depressive symptoms was assessed before the mood-induction treatment began and again at one week and at three months after the final session.
results Each group showed a significant reduction in depressive symptoms. There were no significant differences between the mnns condition and the control condition with regard to the reduction of depressive symptoms over time.
conclusion There was a marked reduction in the depressive symptoms of the patients of both groups which had received short-term treatments involving the viewing of pictures with a positive valence. This reduction was still apparent three months after the treatment. The positive pictures presented in the mnns method were found to be just as effective in reducing depressive symptoms as the positive pictures presented by the iaps.