Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in developed countries. Our previous studies in animal models and humans suggest that repeated activation of cue-induced craving networks followed by electromagnetic stimulation of the dorsal prefrontal cortex (PFC) can cause lasting reductions in drug craving and consumption. We hypothesized that disruption of these circuitries by deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the PFC and insula bilaterally can induce smoking cessation.
    Biological Psychiatry 06/2014; · 9.25 Impact Factor
  • Oded Rosenberg, Limor Klein Dinur, Pinhas N Dannon
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    ABSTRACT: In the past decade, we have witnessed the emergence of pharmacological treatments for pathological gambling with some success but many question marks. We aimed to explore pharmacological treatments that have been previously explored with some success, with the intent of comparing their efficacy and pave the way to larger placebo-controlled trials. In this study, we allocated 78 patients to 4 different types of psychotropic medications: naltrexone, topiramate, bupropion, and escitalopram. We treated patients for more than 2 years, with additional 2-year follow-ups without medication. The sample was evaluated using the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, the Global Assessment of Functioning, and the Visual Analog Scale to measure general well-being before enrollment as well as at 1 month, 6 months, 24 months, and 48 months after beginning medication treatment. During the first 2 years of treatment, 34 patients dropped out, with one more dropping out during the additional 2 years of follow-up. Significant improvement on all rating scales was seen in all groups after 2 years, except HAMD in the group that received topiramate.We found the naltrexone-treated group of patients to have a statistically significant lower dropout rate compared with other groups, statistically significant lower HAMD scores in comparison to the group treated with bupropion, statistically significant lower Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale score compared to the groups treated with escitalopram and topiramate, and significantly higher Visual Analog Scale scores compared to the groups treated with bupropion and topiramate. Pathological gambling is essentially a biopsychological disorder that may be attenuated provided that patients adhere to medication. In our study, among 4 medications with different mechanisms of action, naltrexone was found to be the most effective. Placebo-controlled studies involving large numbers of subjects are required before naltrexone's efficacy can be established.
    Clinical neuropharmacology 03/2013; 36(2):42-5. · 2.35 Impact Factor
  • Oded Rosenberg, Limor Dinur Klein, Pinhas N Dannon
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    ABSTRACT: Five pathological gamblers received deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (DTMS). Evaluations included rating scales and collateral anamnesis. Despite initial improvement in ratings, collateral anamnesis demonstrated failure to respond. DTMS to the pre-frontal cortex using an H1 coil was an ineffective treatment. Our study is preliminary, and additional studies are required.
    Psychiatry research. 10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Football (soccer) betting, as a strategic form of betting, became one of the favorite wagers for pathological gamblers. Previous studies demonstrated the psychological and biological significance of the 'illusion of control' (personal control) and 'near miss' results in gambling. In our study, we explored whether knowledge and expertise of pathological sports gamblers can ensure a successful bet. Sample and Methods: Participants were divided into three groups of individuals - pathological gamblers, amateurs and laypersons - and were asked to predict in advance the general result and the exact result of football matches in the European Champions League Round of 16. Results: The 165 participants included 53 pathological sports gamblers (52 males and 1 female), 78 laypersons (45 females and 33 males) and 34 amateurs (all males). After a thorough statistical analysis, we found no significant differences between the groups, no matter what kind of previous knowledge they had acquired. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the 'illusion of control' of pathological gamblers, attained by knowledge of the game and its latest data and information (especially in a strategic gamble as football betting), has no factual background. Moreover, our study demonstrates without a doubt that there is no significant difference between the male pathological sports gamblers group and the male/female laypersons group.
    Psychopathology 08/2012; · 1.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: About 25% of schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations are refractory to pharmacotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy. We conducted a deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pilot study in order to evaluate the potential clinical benefit of repeated left temporoparietal cortex stimulation in these patients. The results were encouraging, but a sham-controlled study was needed to rule out a placebo effect. A total of 18 schizophrenic patients with refractory auditory hallucinations were recruited, from Beer Yaakov MHC and other hospitals outpatient populations. Patients received 10 daily treatment sessions with low-frequency (1 Hz for 10 min) deep TMS applied over the left temporoparietal cortex, using the H1 coil at the intensity of 110% of the motor threshold. Procedure was either real or sham according to patient randomization. Patients were evaluated via the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale, Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms-Negative Symptoms, Clinical Global Impressions, and Quality of Life Questionnaire. In all, 10 patients completed the treatment (10 TMS sessions). Auditory hallucination scores of both groups improved; however, there was no statistical difference in any of the scales between the active and the sham treated groups. Low-frequency deep TMS to the left temporoparietal cortex using the protocol mentioned above has no statistically significant effect on auditory hallucinations or the other clinical scales measured in schizophrenic patients. Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00564096.
    Annals of General Psychiatry 05/2012; 11:13. · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of hair pulling has been recognized for centuries, yet the true prevalence of trichotillomania (TTM) is largely unknown and the topic has been sparsely studied. TTM is classified as an impulse-control disorder despite much debate about its etiology. In this review we summarize the different hypotheses, including impulse-control disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, behavioral problems and addiction, and the appropriate treatment methods. The combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antipsychotic medications are shown to be most effective. Treatment with anti-addiction drugs seems relevant. Further research is needed to increase our knowledge regarding the etiology of TTM.
    The Israel Medical Association journal: IMAJ 02/2012; 14(2):125-9. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) in the treatment of Panic Disorder (PD) and to compare the treatment outcome of CBGT versus Paroxetine pharmacotherapy. Fifty seven patients referred to our anxiety disorder clinic for the treatment of PD were randomly allocated to receive either CBGT or Paroxetine. Follow up was done by a masked rater after four and twelve weeks of treatment in order to compare the efficacy of CBGT versus Paroxetine. CBGT and Paroxetine were both effective in the short-term treatment of PD. Assessments at weeks four and twelve of treatment showed no statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of treatment outcome. Treatment with CBGT alone for the acute phase of PD appears to be equally efficacious to treatment with Paroxetine alone. Our study shows that CBGT produced beneficial results, for it was associated with a reduction in the number and frequency of panic attacks and with an improved feeling of well-being.
    Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 12/2011; 16(1):41-6. · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Marijuana addiction is one of the most common forms of addiction worldwide. A variety of reasons for use exist, however, there are only a few tested treatments with frequent relapses. In this study, we examined the efficacy of four pharmacotherapy agents for the treatment of marijuana addiction: naltrexone, bupropion, escitalopram and bromazepam. A total of 59 patients were randomly assigned into four groups. Each group received one of the pharmacological agents for 120 days. Four types of questionnaires were employed: The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression--21 items, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety, the Global Assessment of Functioning and a Visual Analogue Scale for perceived need of the drug. In addition, random urine tests were performed to detect tetrahydrocannabinol [THC). Naltrexone proved to be the most efficacious of the four agents, with only four dropouts. Other agents proved less efficacious with six, seven and eights dropouts for bupropion, bromazepam and escitalopram, respectively. In addition, naltrexone was most efficacious in reducing anxiety and depression rates, and increasing functioning and perceived need for drug use. Out of four pharmacological agents, naltrexone proved to be most efficacious in treating marijuana addiction and related disorders. Further studies are needed to confirm our results.
    Harefuah 12/2011; 150(12):888-92, 937.
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    ABSTRACT: This work investigates whether inhibition impairments influence the decision making process in pathological gamblers (PGs). The PG (N=51) subjects performed the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT as the measure of the decision making process) and two tests of inhibition: the Stroop (interference inhibition), and the Go/NoGo (response inhibition), and were compared with demographically matched healthy subjects (N=57). Performance in the IGT block 1 and block 2 did not differ between the groups, but the differences between the PGs and healthy controls began to be significant in block 3, block 4 and block 5. PGs learned the IGT task more slowly than the healthy controls and had non-optimal outcomes (more disadvantageous choices). Impaired IGT performance in PGs was not related to an inhibition ability measured by the Stroop (interference response time) and the Go/NoGo (number of commission errors) parameters. Further controlled studies with neuroimaging techniques may help to clarify the particular brain mechanisms underlying the impaired decision making process in PGs.
    Psychiatry Research 03/2011; 188(1):71-7. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (DTMS) is an emerging and promising treatment for major depression. In our study, we explored the effectiveness of a second antidepressant course of deep TMS in major depression. We enrolled eight patients who had previously responded well to DTMS but relapsed within 1 year in order to evaluate whether a second course of DTMS would still be effective. Eight depressive patients who relapsed after a previous successful deep TMS course expressed their wish to be treated again. Upon their request, they were recruited and treated with 20 daily sessions of DTMS at 20 Hz using the Brainsway's H1 coil. The Hamilton depression rating scale (HDRS), Hamilton anxiety rating scale (HARS) and the Beck depression inventory (BDI) were used weekly to evaluate the response to treatment. Similar to the results obtained in the first course of treatment, the second course of treatment (after relapse) induced significant reductions in HDRS, HARS and BDI scores, compared to the ratings measured prior to treatment. The magnitude of response in the second course was smaller relative to that obtained in the first course of treatment. Our results suggest that depressive patients who previously responded well to deep TMS treatment are likely to respond again. However, the slight reduction in the magnitude of the response in the second treatment raises the question of whether tolerance or resistance to this treatment may eventually develop.
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 02/2011; 35(4):1041-4. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a chronic and disabling disease that presents with delusions and hallucinations. Auditory hallucinations are usually expressed as voices speaking to or about the patient. Previous studies have examined the effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the temporoparietal cortex on auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic patients. Our aim was to explore the potential effect of deep TMS, using the H coil over the same brain region on auditory hallucinations. Eight schizophrenic patients with refractory auditory hallucinations were recruited, mainly from Beer Ya'akov Mental Health Institution (Tel Aviv university, Israel) ambulatory clinics, as well as from other hospitals outpatient populations. Low-frequency deep TMS was applied for 10 min (600 pulses per session) to the left temporoparietal cortex for either 10 or 20 sessions. Deep TMS was applied using Brainsway's H1 coil apparatus. Patients were evaluated using the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale (AHRS) as well as the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms scores (SAPS), Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale, and the Scale for Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS). This preliminary study demonstrated a significant improvement in AHRS score (an average reduction of 31.7% ± 32.2%) and to a lesser extent improvement in SAPS results (an average reduction of 16.5% ± 20.3%). In this study, we have demonstrated the potential of deep TMS treatment over the temporoparietal cortex as an add-on treatment for chronic auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic patients. Larger samples in a double-blind sham-controlled design are now being preformed to evaluate the effectiveness of deep TMS treatment for auditory hallucinations. This trial is registered with clinicaltrials.gov (identifier: NCT00564096).
    Annals of General Psychiatry 02/2011; 10(1):3. · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Pathological gambling (PG) is a highly prevalent and disabling impulse control disorder. A range of psychopharmacological options are available for the treatment of PG, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, opioid receptor antagonists, anti-addiction drugs, and mood stabilizers. In our preliminary study, we examined the efficacy of two anti-addiction drugs, baclofen and acamprosate, in the treatment of PG. Materials and Methods: Seventeen male gamblers were randomly divided into two groups. Each group received one of the two drugs without being blind to treatment. All patients underwent a comprehensive psychiatric diagnostic evaluation and completed a series of semi-structured interviews. During the 6-months of study, monthly evaluations were carried out to assess improvement and relapses. Relapse was defined as recurrent gambling behavior. Results: None of the 17 patients reached the 6-months abstinence. One patient receiving baclofen sustained abstinence for 4 months. Fourteen patients succeeded in sustaining abstinence for 1-3 months. Two patients stopped attending monthly evaluations. Conclusion: Baclofen and acamprosate did not prove efficient in treating pathological gamblers.
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 01/2011; 2:33.
  • P. Dannon, M. Kotler
    European Psychiatry - EUR PSYCHIAT. 01/2011; 26:1910-1910.
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that pathological gamblers have impaired performance on the Stroop color word naming task, go-no-go task and speed accuracy tradeoff performance, tasks used to assess executive function and interference control. The aim of the present neuroimaging study was to explore the relationship between frontal cortex function and gambling severity in pathological gamblers. Functional MRI (fMRI) was used to estimate brain activity of ten male medication-free pathological gamblers during performance of an alternation learning task. Performance of this task has been shown to depend on the function of regions in the frontal cortex. The executive functions needed to perform the alternation learning task were expressed as brain activation in lateral and medial frontal as well as parietal and occipital regions. By correlating the level of local brain activation to task performance, parietal regions and lateral frontal and orbitofrontal regions were demonstrated. A higher score in SOGS was associated with intrusion on the task-specific activation in the left hemisphere, to some extant in parietal regions and even more pronouncedly in left frontal and orbitofrontal regions. Our preliminary data suggests that pathological gambling may be characterized by specific neuro-cognitive changes related to the frontal cortex.
    Brain Imaging and Behavior 11/2010; 5(1):45-51. · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the treatment of major depression has already been shown. Novel TMS coils allowing stimulation of deeper brain regions have recently been developed and studied. Our study is aimed at exploring the possible efficacy of deep TMS in patients with resistant depression, who previously underwent electroconvalsive therapy (ECT). Using Brainsway's deep TMS H1 coil, six patients who previously underwent ECT, were treated with 120% power of the motor threshold at a frequency of 20 Hz. Patients underwent five sessions per week, up to 4 weeks. Before the study, patients were evaluated using the Hamilton depression rating scale (HDRS, 24 items), the Hamilton anxiety scale, and the Beck depression inventory and were again evaluated after 5, 10, 15, and 20 daily treatments. Response to treatment was considered a reduction in the HDRS of at least 50%, and remission was considered a reduction of the HDRS-24 below 10 points. Two of six patients responded to the treatment with deep TMS, including one who achieved full remission. Our results suggest the possibility of a subpopulation of depressed patients who may benefit from deep TMS treatment, including patients who did not respond to ECT previously. However, the power of the study is small and similar larger samples are needed.
    Brain Stimulation 10/2010; 3(4):211-7. · 4.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has proven effective. Recently, a greater intracranial penetration coil has been developed. We tested the efficacy of the coil in the treatment of resistant major depression. Our sample included seven patients suffering from major depression who were treated using Brainsway's H1-coil connected to a Magstim rapid 2 stimulator. Deep TMS treatment was given to each patient in five sessions per week over a period of 4 weeks. Patients were treated with 120% intensity of the motor threshold and a frequency of 20 HZ with a total of 1,680 pulses per session. Five patients completed 20 sessions: one attained remission (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS)=9); three patients reached a reduction of more than 50% in their pre-treatment HDRS; and one patient achieved a partial response (i.e., the HDRS score dropped from 21 to 12). Average HDRS score dropped to 12.6 and average Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale score dropped to 9.Two patients dropped out: one due to insomnia and the second due to a lack of response. Compared to the pooled response and remission rates when treating major depression with rTMS, deep TMS as used in this study is at least similarly effective. Still, a severe limitation of this study is its small sample size, which makes the comparison of the two methods in terms of their effectiveness or side effects impossible. Greater numbers of subjects should be studied to achieve this aim. An H1 deep TMS coil could be used as an alternative treatment for major depressive disorder.
    Depression and Anxiety 05/2010; 27(5):465-9. · 4.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pathological gambling is classified in the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and in the ICD-10 (International Classification of Disease) as an impulse control disorder. The association between impulsivity and pathological gambling remains a matter of debate: some researchers find high levels of impulsivity within pathological gamblers, others report no difference compared to controls, and yet others even suggest that it is lower. In this review we examine the relationship between pathological gambling and impulsivity assessed by various neurocognitive tests. These tests--the Stroop task, the Stop Signal Task, the Matching Familiar Figures Task, the Iowa Gambling Task, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, the Tower of London test, and the Continuous Performance Test--demonstrated less impulsivity in gambling behavior. The differences in performance between pathological gamblers and healthy controls on the neurocognitive tasks could be due to addictive behavior features rather than impulsive behavior.
    The Israel Medical Association journal: IMAJ 04/2010; 12(4):243-8. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    Pinhas N Dannon
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 01/2010; 1:8.
  • Srx Pharmacology. 01/2010; 2010:1-5.
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    ABSTRACT: Pathological gambling is classified as an impulse control disorder in the DSM-IV-TR; however, few studies have investigated the relationship between gambling behavior and impulsive decision-making in time-non-limited situations. The subjects performed the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT). The MFFT investigated the reflection-impulsivity dimension in pathological gamblers (n = 82) and demographically matched healthy subjects (n = 82). Our study demonstrated that pathological gamblers had a significantly higher rate of errors than healthy controls (p = 0.01) but were not different in terms of response time (p = 0.49). We found a similar power of correlation between the number of errors and response time in both pathological gamblers and controls. We may conclude that impaired performance of our pathological gamblers as compared to controls in a situation without time limit pressure cannot be explained by a trade-off of greater speed at the cost of less accuracy. The results of our study showed that pathological gamblers tend to make more errors but do not exhibit quicker responses as compared to the control group. Diminished MFFT performance in pathological gamblers as compared to controls supports findings of previous studies which show that pathological gamblers have impaired decision-making. Further controlled studies with a larger sample size which examine MFFT performance in pathological gamblers are necessary to confirm our results.
    European Addiction Research 11/2009; 16(1):23-30. · 2.36 Impact Factor

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