February 12, 2020 | inewsource

The Navy SEAL and is doctor: An experimental brain treatment blows up 2 lives

REWIRED is a two-part inewsource investigation into a promising and experimental brain treatment that has sparked mayhem for the doctor who developed it and the Navy SEAL who had a psychotic break after receiving it.


Although Murphy told inewsource twice that he never says personalized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is FDA approved, reporters found the doctor’s website did say that. An old flyer for his clinic repeated the claim and added that his therapy “has a greater than 20 year track record of safety.”

“Would I be able to read this and generally come away with what I would consider an informed understanding of what's going on?” Cooney Horvath said after reading Murphy’s website. “The answer has to be an unequivocal no.”

Anna Wexler, an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, agreed.

“He's stepping over the line,” Wexler said.

To say PrTMS is a better treatment option than what’s currently available, she said, “is a very clear, misleading claim, especially given that he's not posting any studies.”

Wexler is the lead researcher at the Wexler Lab, which studies the ethical, legal and social implications of emerging technologies. She spoke to inewsource after carefully reviewing Murphy’s website and said the doctor’s language is targeting desperate people.

“I think vulnerable is the right word here,” she said. “I think they may be particularly vulnerable to claims that this new technique or this new technology can solve their problems, especially one that requires up to $10,000 and going into the office every day, five days a week for four to six weeks.”

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