[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Daily left prefrontal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been studied as a potential treatment for depression, but previous work had mixed outcomes and did not adequately mask sham conditions.
To test whether daily left prefrontal rTMS safely and effectively treats major depressive disorder.
Prospective, multisite, randomized, active sham-controlled (1:1 randomization), duration-adaptive design with 3 weeks of daily weekday treatment (fixed-dose phase) followed by continued blinded treatment for up to another 3 weeks in improvers.
Four US university hospital clinics.
Approximately 860 outpatients were screened, yielding 199 antidepressant drug-free patients with unipolar nonpsychotic major depressive disorder.
We delivered rTMS to the left prefrontal cortex at 120% motor threshold (10 Hz, 4-second train duration, and 26-second intertrain interval) for 37.5 minutes (3000 pulses per session) using a figure-eight solid-core coil. Sham rTMS used a similar coil with a metal insert blocking the magnetic field and scalp electrodes that delivered matched somatosensory sensations.
In the intention-to-treat sample (n = 190), remission rates were compared for the 2 treatment arms using logistic regression and controlling for site, treatment resistance, age, and duration of the current depressive episode.
Patients, treaters, and raters were effectively masked. Minimal adverse effects did not differ by treatment arm, with an 88% retention rate (90% sham and 86% active). Primary efficacy analysis revealed a significant effect of treatment on the proportion of remitters (14.1% active rTMS and 5.1% sham) (P = .02). The odds of attaining remission were 4.2 times greater with active rTMS than with sham (95% confidence interval, 1.32-13.24). The number needed to treat was 12. Most remitters had low antidepressant treatment resistance. Almost 30% of patients remitted in the open-label follow-up (30.2% originally active and 29.6% sham).
Daily left prefrontal rTMS as monotherapy produced statistically significant and clinically meaningful antidepressant therapeutic effects greater than sham.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00149838.
Archives of general psychiatry 05/2010; 67(5):507-16. · 12.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Combined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to study anticonvulsant drugs. A previous study showed that lamotrigine (LTG) inhibited brain activation induced when TMS was applied over motor cortex, whereas it increased activation induced by TMS applied over prefrontal cortex.
The present double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study in 30 healthy subjects again combined TMS and fMRI to test whether the effects seen previously with LTG would be confirmed and to compare these with a second anticonvulsant drug, valproic acid (VPA).
Statistical parametric mapping analysis showed that both LTG and VPA, compared to placebo, inhibited TMS-induced activation of the motor cortex. In contrast, when TMS was applied over prefrontal cortex, LTG increased the activation of limbic regions, confirming previous results; VPA had no effect.
We conclude that LTG and VPA have similar inhibitory effects on motor circuits, but differing effects on the prefrontal corticolimbic system. The study demonstrates that a combination of TMS and fMRI techniques may be useful in the study of the effects of neuroactive drugs on specific brain circuits.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate different cortical effects of lamotrigine and valproic acid, 30 paid healthy adult men were given, in a randomized/blinded fashion on three separate days (separated by a week), either a single dose of lamotrigine 325 mg, or a single dose of valproic acid 1,250 mg, or placebo. Resting motor threshold (RMT), cortical silent period (CSP) and motor evoked potential recruitment curves (RC) were assessed at baseline and 3 h after administration of each medication (or placebo). Lamotrigine caused a significant increase (63.32 vs. 69.25) in the RMT, compared with an insignificant increase following valproic acid (62.50 vs. 63.35), and a decrease (62.60 vs. 62.36) following placebo (F (2,26) = 18.58, P < 0.0001). No significant difference in CSP was found between placebo and drugs (F (2,26) = 0.119, P > 0.05). RCs were significantly suppressed by lamotrigine (t = 2.07, P < 0.05) and enhanced by valproic acid (t = 2.39, P < 0.05). Lamotrigine and valproic acid have different effects on cortical neuronal excitability as demonstrated by TMS.
Journal of Neural Transmission 03/2009; 116(4):423-9. · 3.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Focal electrically administered therapy is a new method of transcranial electrical stimulation capable of focal modulation of cerebral activity. Other than invasive studies in animals and examination of motor output in humans, there are limited possibilities for establishing basic principles about how variation in stimulus parameters impact on patterns of intracortical stimulation. This study used a simpler paradigm and evaluated the effects of different stimulation parameters on subjective perception of the quality and location of scalp pain.
In 2 studies, 19 subjects were randomly stimulated over the left forehead, varying the anode-cathode arrangement, the intensity of stimulation, the electrode size and placement, and whether the current flow was unidirectional or bidirectional. Subjects rated the location of the sensation and its quality.
The perceived center of stimulation moved toward the cathode, regardless of placement. This shift in subjective sensation was more prominent when the electricity was unidirectional. In addition, more intense stimulation, as well as stimulation with a smaller electrode, caused greater perceived pain. Unidirectional stimulation was rated more painful when traveling from a large anode to a small cathode and less painful when traveling from a small anode to a large cathode. Finally, participants were more likely to perceive the electrical stimulation as moving toward a specific direction when the intensity was high than when it was low.
The intensity and location of sensations can be manipulated by varying the intensity, current direction, or geometry of electrodes.
The journal of ECT 01/2009; 25(2):91-8. · 1.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits are of particular importance in schizophrenia since they are strongly associated with poor prognosis. We investigated the relationship between prefrontal cortical atrophy as measured by MRI and the neuropsychological performance of participants diagnosed with DSM-IV-TR schizophrenia.
Fourteen unmedicated adult patients and thirteen matched controls were studied. Subjects underwent MRI yielding 1 mm isotropic T1-weighted images. Voxel based morphometry was applied to all images using SPM5. The mean gray level of Brodmann area (BA) 9 was also extracted and evaluated using simple regression along with relative score differences on patients neuropsychological tests compared to controls.
Patients exhibited a poorer performance on the Controlled Word Association Task (COWAT), Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and Trail Making Test (TMT). Patients also presented a greater level of apathy as indexed by the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES). There was a significant decrease in gray matter volume in patients with schizophrenia in left supplementary motor area, bilateral superior frontal gyrus, left middle frontal gyrus, right opercular area, left angular gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus and left cerebellar hemisphere. Within the schizophrenia group, decreased BA9 gray matter volume was correlated with poorer performance on the WCST and TMT-B.
Prefrontal gray matter abnormalities in schizophrenia patients may be associated with some symptoms including difficulties with set-shifting and decreased mental flexibility. Further studies evaluating prefrontal connectivity may clarify if such impairment results from abnormalities of the frontal area alone, or are a result of altered networks involving the frontal and extra-frontal areas.
Schizophrenia Research 05/2008; 101(1-3):142-51. · 4.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an effective anticonvulsant device and has shown antidepressant effects in chronic treatment resistant depression. Because the vagus nerve sends information to brain regions important in anxiety regulation (locus coeruleus, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, hippocampus and amygdala), this pathway might be involved in perceiving or manifesting various somatic and cognitive symptoms that characterize anxiety disorders. On the basis of this reasoning and reports of anxiolytic effects of VNS in patients treated for epilepsy and depression, we organized an open-label pilot acute trial of adjunctive VNS on top of stable medications, followed by long-term follow-up, to assess the safety and potential efficacy of VNS for patients with treatment resistant anxiety disorders.
Eleven adult outpatients with treatment resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD), or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were recruited. Patients had failed several medication trials as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). All patients were rated with the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) and the clinical global impressions improvement scale (CGI-I). Patients with OCD were also rated with the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). Patients were maintained on their current psychotropic medications at fixed doses during the acute 12-week phase. Changes in medications and VNS stimulus parameters were allowed during the long-term follow-up. Response was defined as a 50% or greater improvement on the HAM-A for all patients and a 25% or greater improvement on the Y-BOCS for patients with OCD.
Eleven patients were recruited. Seven patients had a primary diagnosis of OCD, two had PTSD, and one had PD. One OCD patient changed their mind and was never implanted. One patient with OCD withdrew consent before the end of the acute phase, so long-term results were available for nine patients. Three patients were acute responders, based on the HAM-A, and there was some improvement in anxiety ratings over time (with statistically significant improvements at 14 of 18 quarters during long-term follow-up). Of the seven patients with OCD who received stimulation, three were acute responders, based on the Y-BOCS, and there was some improvement in Y-BOCS scores over time (with statistically significant improvements at 7 of 18 quarters during long-term follow-up). VNS was relatively well tolerated. Four years after implantation, four patients (diagnoses two OCD, one PD, one PTSD) were still receiving VNS with continued and sustained improvement in anxiety scores compared with their baseline scores.
These patients with treatment-resistant anxiety disorders generally tolerated VNS treatment, and there was evidence of acute and long-term improvement in some patients. These open data suggest that further double-blind studies assessing the VNS role in treating anxiety disorders, particularly OCD, may be warranted.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a novel, noninvasive method of stimulating selected regions of the brain that has both research applications and potential clinical utility, particularly for depression. To conduct high-quality clinical studies of rTMS, it is necessary to have a convincing placebo (or sham) treatment. Prefrontal rTMS causes cutaneous discomfort and muscle twitching; therefore, an optimal control condition, ie, sham condition, would mimic the cutaneous sensation and muscular discomfort of rTMS without stimulating the brain. Ideally, the quality and intensity of the sham condition would feel identical to the quality and intensity of the rTMS condition, except that the sham would have no effect on cortical activity. We designed and built a focal electrical stimulation system as a sham rTMS condition. Although this electrical sham system is superior to methods used in previous studies, little is known about how the new electrical sham system compares with active rTMS in terms of the level of discomfort and type of sensation it produces.
We hypothesized that the electrical sham system may not mirror the experimental condition sufficiently. We studied this hypothesis under single-blind conditions in 15 healthy adults by administering either the real or sham rTMS at high and low intensities while subjects, who were unaware of condition, rated subjective qualities of the stimulation (such as tingling, pinching, and piercing), the scalp location of the perception, and the painfulness of the stimuli.
At low-intensity stimulation, the two techniques (active and sham) differ with respect to the subjective quality of the sensation. The differences between real and sham rTMS were less dramatic at higher intensities. The best sham condition that most closely mimics real prefrontal rTMS requires individual titration of the intensity of electrical stimulation across a broad range. Performing this titration without unblinding patients is likely possible, but technically challenging. We propose a new approach to do this.
We conclude that it is possible to create a truly indistinguishable sham condition (with appropriate acoustic masking as well), but more work is needed beyond these initial attempts.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dopamine D1 receptors play an important role in memory and cognition in non-human primates. Dopamine D1 agonists have been shown to reverse performance deficits in both aged non-human primates and in primates with lesions to dopamine systems. This study explored whether a single dose of the first full D1 agonist dihydrexidine (DAR-0100) would cause changes in brain activity (perfusion) in dopamine-rich brain regions. We used a new gadolinium-contrast magnetic resonance perfusion scanning technique to measure brain activity. A within-subject cross-over double-blind randomized design was used in 20 adults with SCID-diagnosed schizophrenia. Each morning at 0800 h, they were scanned on a 3.0 T MRI scanner for perfusion. They then received either 20 mg of dihydrexidine, or placebo, subcutaneously over 15 min. Over the next 45 min, they had intermittent MRI scans. Two days later, they had a repeat of the Day 1 schedule, but received the opposite treatment from that given on the first day. Within-day, as well as between-day, comparisons were made to test for perfusion effects of dihydrexidine. Analysis revealed that dihydrexidine induced a significant increase in both prefrontal and non-prefrontal perfusion compared to placebo. The greatest increases occurred approximately 20 min after dihydrexidine infusion, consistent with the short pharmacokinetic half-life of dihydrexidine. These data are consistent with the hypothesis formulated from studies of non-human primates that dihydrexidine and other D1 agonists may be able to modulate prefrontal dopaminergic function.
Schizophrenia Research 09/2007; 94(1-3):332-41. · 4.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy has shown antidepressant effects in open acute and long-term studies of treatment-resistant major depression. Mechanisms of action are not fully understood, although clinical data suggest slower onset therapeutic benefit than conventional psychotropic interventions. We set out to map brain systems activated by VNS and to identify serial brain functional correlates of antidepressant treatment and symptomatic response. Nine adults, satisfying DSM-IV criteria for unipolar or bipolar disorder, severe depressed type, were implanted with adjunctive VNS therapy (MRI-compatible technique) and enrolled in a 3-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, serial-interleaved VNS/functional MRI (fMRI) study and open 20-month follow-up. A multiple regression mixed model with blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal as the dependent variable revealed that over time, VNS therapy was associated with ventro-medial prefrontal cortex deactivation. Controlling for other variables, acute VNS produced greater right insula activation among the participants with a greater degree of depression. These results suggest that similar to other antidepressant treatments, BOLD deactivation in the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex correlates with the antidepressant response to VNS therapy. The increased acute VNS insula effects among actively depressed participants may also account for the lower dosing observed in VNS clinical trials of depression compared with epilepsy. Future interleaved VNS/fMRI studies to confirm these findings and further clarify the regional neurobiological effects of VNS.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The potential of dopamine D(1) receptor agonists to have beneficial effects on cognitive function has been suggested by a body of preclinical evidence. We now report the use of dihydrexidine (DAR-0100), the first full D(1) agonist, in a pilot study assessing single low dose safety and tolerability in patients with schizophrenia. A within-subject cross-over design was used in 20 adults (18-65 years) with SCID-IV diagnosed schizophrenia. Subjects were outpatients with a moderate level of residual negative symptoms, and were on stable dosing of non-D(1)-blocking antipsychotic drugs. Following screening, subjects were hospitalized for 48 h, and at 0800 h each morning scanned on a 3 T MRI scanner for resting brain perfusion, followed by a Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) fMRI scan during an N-Back working memory task. They then received 20 mg subcutaneously (SC) of dihydrexidine or placebo over 15 min, followed by 45 min of intermittent MRI scans of perfusion and BOLD activity during the working memory task. Blood was drawn for serum drug levels and subjects were evaluated for clinical and cognitive changes. The procedure was repeated using the opposite challenge 2 days later. Dihydrexidine was well tolerated with no serious adverse events although three subjects had mild dizziness and five subjects experienced nausea. There was no significant effect of drug on clinical interview ratings or delayed (afternoon) neuropsychological performance. No medication interactions were seen. Thus, a single subcutaneous dose of dihydrexidine is tolerated and safe in patients with schizophrenia and does not produce delayed clinical or neuropsychological improvements.
Schizophrenia Research 08/2007; 93(1-3):42-50. · 4.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been a resurgence of interest in brain stimulation techniques as therapies for psychiatric disorders. Various names are used for this class of treatments: neuromodulation, somatic therapies, brain stimulation techniques. The methods in this class range from non-invasive (transcranial magnetic stimulation) to invasive brain surgery (deep brain stimulation).
Within the past year, the results of several large multicenter trials have been published, clearing the way for US Food and Drug Administration approval of vagus nerve stimulation for recurrent treatment-resistant depression and a pending consideration of approving transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of depression.
This article reviews the most important recent clinically relevant manuscripts in this rapidly expanding new field.
Current Opinion in Psychiatry 06/2007; 20(3):250-4; discussion 247-9. · 3.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vagus nerve stimulation is an interesting new approach to treating neuropsychiatric diseases within the class of brain-stimulation devices sometimes labeled 'neuromodulators'. With vagus nerve stimulation, a battery-powered generator implanted in the chest wall connects to a wire wrapped around the vagus nerve in the neck, and sends intermittent pulses of electricity along the nerve directly into the brain. This mechanism takes advantage of the natural role of the vagus nerve in conveying information into the brain concerning homeostatic information (e.g., hunger, chest pain and respirations). Vagus nerve stimulation therapy is US FDA approved for the adjunctive treatment of epilepsy and has recently been FDA approved for the treatment of medication-resistant depression. Owing to its novel route into the brain, it has no drug-drug interactions or systemic side effects. This treatment also appears to have high long-term tolerability in patients, with low rates of patients relapsing on vagus nerve stimulation or becoming tolerant. However, alongside the excitement and enthusiasm for this new treatment, a lack of Class I evidence of efficacy in treating depression is currently slowing down adoption by psychiatrists. Much more research is needed regarding exactly how to refine and deliver the electrical pulses and how this differentially affects brain function in health and disease.
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 02/2007; 7(1):63-74. · 2.96 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is associated with significant scalp discomfort under the coil for a high percentage of participants, especially with high stimulation intensities (100% of motor threshold or higher) or frequencies (1 Hz or greater). Some patients in rTMS clinical trials have been unable to tolerate the pain and have dropped out. There seem to be no published studies of strategies to reduce the localized pain and discomfort associated with rTMS. Thus, the authors conducted preliminary pilot trials of 4 different strategies for managing discomfort associated with left prefrontal rTMS. Healthy adults rated the painfulness and unpleasantness of left prefrontal rTMS (10 Hz; 5 seconds, on; 30 seconds, off; at 100% and 120% of resting motor threshold) before and after (1) topical application of a eutectic mixture of local anesthetics cream, (2) scalp injection of lidocaine, (3) scalp injection of lidocaine and epinephrine, and (4) with or without 3 x 3-in thin foam sheets between the coil and scalp. The discomfort produced by rTMS under these experimental conditions was compared with the discomfort produced by stimulation with the same parameters without the interventions. Localized anesthetic injections were associated with a significant decrease in pain intensity and unpleasantness, whereas the eutectic mixture of local anesthetics cream had no effect on rTMS-related discomfort. The use of foam sheets was associated with a slight but noticeable decrease in pain intensity and unpleasantness. More systematic research is needed on the effectiveness of different strategies for reducing rTMS-related pain and discomfort.
Journal of Ect 01/2007; 22(4):259-64. · 1.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is approved by the FDA for treatment of both epilepsy and depression. Recent work has shown that VNS acutely affects pain perception in humans, actually increasing pain sensitivity momentarily while the device is firing. It is unclear how this acutely increased sensitivity might change over time with treatment and how it might relate to longer-term therapeutic effects of VNS on pain. We describe a patient with treatment-resistant depression and a history of severe lumbar degenerative disease with resultant chronic low back pain. His depression and pain symptoms both seemed to respond to VNS. He eventually stopped all medications and remained depression and pain free for 35 months with no change in his device settings. Sixty-six months after VNS implantation and 64 months after his initial clinical antidepressant response, under single-blind conditions, we performed quantitative sensory testing with laboratory thermal pain procedures during acute VNS-on and -off conditions. Interestingly, despite a significant and profound anti-nociceptive clinical response for the previous 35 months, he had significant increases in painfulness ratings while the VNS device was actively firing compared with device-off conditions. This case suggests that VNS-induced acute increases in pain sensitivity can coexist with a clinical anti-nociceptive response. If the acutely increased sensitivity sets the stage for the slower chronic anti-pain effects, the increased acute sensitivity does not disappear. Acute and chronic effects of VNS on pain perception merit further research.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an experimental technology that involves a powerful magnetic pulse applied to the scalp, which is sufficient to cause neuronal depolarization. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used in treatment studies for psychiatric disorders, primarily unipolar depression, and as a tool to map brain function. Although thousands of rTMS sessions have been given with few side effects, rTMS can produce serious adverse effects such as an unintended seizure. Safety guidelines for frequency, duration, and intensity of rTMS have aided in the prevention of such adverse side effects. However, the total dose (number of stimuli) able to be delivered safely to human subjects within a day or within a week has not been established. For example, previous rTMS studies as a treatment for depression consisted of delivering 800 to 3,000 magnetic pulses per day, with 8000 to 30,000 magnetic pulses over 2 to 3 weeks. This study examined whether high doses of rTMS within a day or over a week would produce significant side effects. As part of a study to examine rTMS effects in sleep deprivation, we exposed healthy men to 12,960 magnetic pulses a day for up to 3 days in 1 week. This equals 38,880 magnetic pulses over 1 week, which is likely one of the largest exposures of TMS to date. Despite this intense treatment regimen, we failed to produce significant side effects. Doses of up to 12,960 pulses per day appear safe and tolerable in healthy young men.
Journal of Ect 04/2006; 22(1):49-53. · 1.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research suggests that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) affects pain perception in epilepsy patients, with acute VNS decreasing pain thresholds and chronic VNS treatment increasing pain thresholds. However, no studies have investigated the effects of VNS on pain perception in chronically depressed adults, nor have controlled, systematic investigations been published on the differential effects of certain VNS device parameters on pain perception.
The present study tried to replicate the results of previous research showing acute pronociceptive effects of VNS and determine the effects of various device parameter settings on pain tolerance. The present study also investigated the relationship among patients' levels of depression, duration of VNS treatment and VNS-induced changes in pain perception.
A thermal pain challenge task was used to determine pain tolerance during VNS device activation using different combinations of VNS device parameter settings within subjects undergoing VNS therapy for chronic depression.
Significant pronociceptive effects were found for acute VNS activation. Individual differences were found with respect to the VNS settings associated with the largest changes in pain perception. Severity of depression was inversely related to baseline pain tolerance, but depression severity was unrelated to VNS-induced acute changes in pain tolerance, as was the length of time participants had been undergoing VNS treatment.
VNS appears to affect pain perception in depressed adults. Different VNS parameter settings may be associated with unique effects from patient to patient. More studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of VNS on pain perception.
Pain research & management: the journal of the Canadian Pain Society = journal de la societe canadienne pour le traitement de la douleur 02/2005; 10(1):9-14. · 1.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Focal prefrontal cortex repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) was originally investigated as a potential antidepressant under the assumption that in depressed patients, prefrontal cortex stimulation would produce changes in connected limbic regions involved in mood regulation.
Fourteen adult patients with depression were scanned in a 1.5-T scanner using interleaved rTMS (1 Hz) applied on the left prefrontal cortex over 7.35 min. Images were analyzed with Statistical Parametric Mapping 2b and principal component analysis.
Over the left prefrontal cortex, 1-Hz TMS was associated with increased activity at the site of stimulation as well as in connected limbic regions: bilateral middle prefrontal cortex, right orbital frontal cortex, left hippocampus, mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus, bilateral putamen, pulvinar, and insula (t = 3.85, p <.001). Significant deactivation was found in the right ventromedial frontal cortex.
In depressed patients, 1-Hz TMS at 100% motor threshold over the left prefrontal cortex induces activation underneath the coil, activates frontal-subcortical neuronal circuits, and decreases activity in the right ventromedial cortex. Further work is needed to understand whether these immediate changes vary as a function of TMS use parameters (intensity, frequency, location) and whether they relate to neurobiologic effects and antidepressant mechanisms of TMS.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an approved treatment for epilepsy and has been investigated in clinical trials of depression. Little is known about the relationship of VNS parameters to brain function. Using the interleaved VNS /functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technique, we tested whether variations of VNS pulse width (PW) would produce different immediate brain activation in a manner consistent with single neuron PW studies.
Twelve adult patients with major depression, treated with VNS, underwent three consecutive VNS/fMRI scans, each randomly using one of three PWs (130 micros, 250 micros, or 500 micros). The data were analyzed with SPM2.
Global activations induced by PWs 250 and 500 were both significantly greater than that induced by PW 130 but not significantly different from each other. For global deactivation, PWs 130 and 250 were both significantly greater than PW 500 but not significantly different from each other. Regional similarities and differences were also seen with the various PWs.
The data confirm our hypothesis that VNS at PW 500 globally produces no more activation than does PW 250, and PW 130 is insufficient for activation of some regions. These data suggest that PW is an important variable in producing VNS brain effects.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have examined the acute antidepressant effects of prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). However, there is little information on whether TMS can be used as a maintenance treatment to maintain normal mood once subjects have responded. We describe seven adults with bipolar depression who responded acutely to TMS and were then treated with TMS weekly for up to 1 year. TMS was carried out over the left prefrontal cortex at 110% motor threshold, 5 Hz for 8 s for 40 trains. Three subjects completed 1 full year of weekly TMS with an average Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression of 13 (sd = 5.9) over the year. These data suggest but do not prove that TMS might eventually be used as an adjunctive maintenance treatment for at least some patients with bipolar depression. Much work remains.
Depression and Anxiety 02/2004; 20(2):98-100. · 4.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In contrast to the effects seen in younger adults, depressed elderly subjects have shown more modest antidepressant responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We theorized that higher stimulation intensities in older depressed subjects with prefrontal atrophy might be needed to stimulate underlying cortex. In an open design with patients on stable baseline medications, we treated 18 treatment-resistant elderly depressed subjects (mean age 61.2 +/- 7.3) with 15 rTMS sessions over 3 weeks. We adjusted the delivered TMS intensity to account for MRI measured prefrontal atrophy. The skull to prefrontal cortex distance increased with age, whereas the skull to motor cortex distance did not. All subjects tolerated the higher doses well. The average intensity used was 114% of motor threshold (MT) with a range from 103-141% MT. There was an average 35% decline over the 3 weeks in HRSD scores. After 3 weeks of treatment, 27% (5/18) met response criteria (> 50% improvement), with four of these five also meeting criteria for remission (exit Hamilton Depression Score < 8). These initial pilot findings support the need for blinded studies using prefrontal TMS in an elderly population, testing whether TMS, delivered at stimulation intensities calculated to overcome atrophy, is more effective than TMS without adjusting for atrophy.
Depression and Anxiety 01/2004; 19(4):249-56. · 4.61 Impact Factor