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Dr. Mark George

Dr. Mark George

Dr. Mark George Honored as one of USNWR’s 14 ‘Pioneers of Medical Progress’

Once again MUSC has been featured on the pages of US News & World Report.  MUSC’s Mark George, MD, has been honored as one of fourteen ‘Pioneers of Medical Progress’ saluted in the August edition of the magazine.  Dr. George’s exceptional contribution to neuroscience research is the crown jewel in a series of honors garnered by MUSC recently, which have included the ranking of our Children’s Hospital’s Heart Programs in the top 20 nationally and seven other major MUSC departments honored last month as among the nation’s best by USNWR rankings. 

Dr. George’s research on TMS – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – began in the early 90’s after he finished residency training in psychiatry and neurology at MUSC to pursue fellowship training at the NIH and in London.  While it has long been known that electroconvulsive therapy is an effective treatment for severe depression, Dr. George proposed that the far gentler TMS might have the same effect.  After years of research resulting in over 250 publications, last year the FDA approved TMS for the treatment of depression.  Typically patients receive four to six weeks of daily treatment, and some  patients receive regular intermittent treatments thereafter to alleviate low mood.

Dr. George and his colleagues Ziad Nahas, MD and Jeff Borckardt, PhD in the Brain Stimulation Division are now studying the use of TMS for other indications, including pain reduction, Parkinson’s disease, post-stroke rehabilitation, and auditory hallucinations and ringing in the ears.  He has led the development of MUSC’s Brain Stimulation Laboratory, which is a world leader in the study of innovative uses of electromagnetic therapies for brain disorders.  He notes that the research is still in its infancy, and basic questions – such as the optimal frequency, duration, and site of stimulation – are still being researched. He is working with researchers at Stanford and is launching a nationwide study within the VA system, with enrollment as well here in Charleston, to determine if TMS can help depressed veterans who do not respond to medications.  The lab studies not only TMS but also vagus  nerve stimulation (VNS), transcranial direct current stimulation  (tDCS), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), deep brain stimulation (DBS)  and epidural cortical stimulation (epCS).

MUSC is especially proud of Dr. George as a 1985 graduate of our medical school.  He trained in both Psychiatry and Neurology at MUSC.  Following his fellowship training Dr. George returned to MUSC to pursue his research and clinical interests, and received the prestigious University Distinguished Professorship in 2000.  Dr. George’s wife Eloise is an anesthesiologist, and the couple live on Sullivan’s Island with their two children where they enjoy sailing, windsurfing, and other outdoor activities.

 Related Podcasts
Brain Imaging: Deception
- Depression: Alternative Treatments (TMS)
- Depression: Alternative Treatmetns (VNS)


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