$200K award funds psychologist’s neurostimulation work on treatment for risky substance use

A PATIENT UNDERGOES treatment with a synchronized transcranial magnetic stimulation device at home. / COURTESY WAVE NEUROSCIENCE INC.

PROVIDENCE – A $200,000 award will fund a two-year research study at the Providence VA Medical Center on the effectiveness and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for risky substance use.

Dr. John McGeary, a research scientist and psychologist at the medical center, was awarded the funds last month from the VA Office of Rehabilitation Research and Development. Through his project titled “Synchronized Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Substance Use-Disordered Veterans,” McGeary plans to examine the method’s acceptability, tolerability and safety as a treatment for opiate, cocaine and alcohol addiction.

“As the response to the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for traditional forms of addiction treatment, it is more important than ever to develop new treatments, particularly ones that could be used in a home setting,” McGeary said. “There are currently no FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approved treatments for cocaine use disorder, so this technology could be a critically important tool for treatment in these cases as well, if the research supports its use.”

Dr. Noah Philip, chief of psychiatric neuromodulation, and Dr. Robert Swift, chief of mental health and behavioral science services at the Providence VA Medical Center, will work with McGeary on the study.

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Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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