After more than 20 years of battling depression and often coming out on the losing end, Brent Harlan found life-changing relief while sitting in a chair that might be mistaken for one you’d see at a dentist’s office. At Novant Health Psychiatric Associates in Charlotte, he’s undergoing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, which is typically used when other depression treatments haven’t been effective.
The non-invasive treatment, which is similar to an MRI, “uses magnetic waves to stimulate the areas of the brain that we also stimulate with antidepressants to improve mood,” said Dr. Darlene Ifill-Taylor, who is outpatient medical director for behavioral health at Novant Health in Charlotte and serves as Harlan’s TMS psychiatrist. She receives an extensive assist from the TMS coordinator-treater John Winn, who administers the treatments, which run 37 minutes, five days a week for four to six weeks.
Harlan is better known by his radio name, Brent O’Brien, at 107.9 The Link, where he’s the producer and on-air personality on “The Matt & Ramona Show, which runs weekdays 3-7. (You might know him by his show nickname “Bandy,” or “Bandy Boo.”)
His journey was recently chronicled in an extensive Charlotte Observer story that explored his long and frustrating search for relief and the exciting success of his recent treatments. “I think probably 10 times a day he says, ‘I can’t believe how good I feel,’ ” wife Mary Harlan says in the story. “... It was pretty much night and day after two treatments.”
The story appeared on other McClatchy news sites and O’Brien heard from readers around the country. He’s also written about it on the station’s web site.
For more information, go to NovantHealth.org/behavioralhealth.