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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation helping patients

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- ABC-7 has been presenting "Be Mindful" stories throughout our newscasts.

But for many, being mindful may be difficult when the mind is not working the way it should.

However, groundbreaking technology is available to people who have tried multiple medications, as well as therapy without seeing the results they're looking for.

It's called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

ABC-7 spoke to one person, who may be a familiar face for many, to find out just how effective TMS has been for him.

"Stress tends to trigger depression and anxiety for me."

Daniel Call is an El Paso Independent School District trustee. He also runs two small businesses and is a father of five children.

“I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression on and off during my life. But during COVID, it got significantly worse. So coming out of COVID, I was desperate, and I was looking for something," said Call.

Call says he tried everything for his anxiety and depression, multiple medications, as well as therapy.
He says some of that worked, adding they were only a temporary fix. The symptoms returned.
By his admission, he was in a dark place, so dark he hated talking or even thinking about it.

"There was days when it was that bad. It was bad,” Call said.

So he turned to TMS, which is approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

"Transcranial magnetic stimulation involves magnetic pulses that go through the cranium. And they stimulate the frontal lobe and so the neurons begin to communicate and function the way they were originally set to do,” said Alfredo Arellano, who runs a TMS clinic near Downtown El Paso.

Arellano explains no electricity runs through the brain.

He showed ABC-7 a side-by-side comparison of a brain with little activity showing shaded areas of the brain, and a brain that is almost completely lit up with activity.

Those are neurons sending information throughout the brain.

Arellano says the brain with little activity is from a person who suffers from depression.

“The neurons are not communicating with each other. And consequently, the brain isn’t working and people feel depressed, low energy, motivation, can’t sleep, overeat, etc," Arellano explained.

Arellano adds TMS therapy has no side effects.

Arellano says a typical patient, like Hall, will undergo 36 treatments, spread out through multiple weeks, with an average of 19 minutes of magnetic stimulation.

"Some of those magnetic pulses go to other parts of the brain so that the brain is jumpstarted, restarted, rebooted. But the beautiful thing is that after 36 treatments, it stays like that,” said Arellano.

And he adds no more medication, and no further treatments are needed.

The cost is around $7,200 dollars.

But Arellano says that since it is FDA approved, just about every insurance plan covers the cost if the person is eligible.

“But knowing what I know now, I would’ve paid out-of-pocket for it. It doesn’t matter how much it costs to me because I got my life back, and I would pay any price for that,” says Call, adding he pinches himself to make sure he actually feels well and is no longer living in a dark place.

Call says, more importantly, family and friends have noticed the transformation.

“Before TMS, I just felt like garbage. I didn’t feel like doing anything. And obviously that state of mind is gonna affect your quality of work and affect the quality of your relationships with your family and friends. And now that I feel better, you know, it’s game on,” Call said.

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Saul Saenz


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