The Impact of High-Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Fine Motor Functions in Medication-Resistant Major Depression

Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Antwerp, Belgium.
Neuropsychobiology (Impact Factor: 2.26). 10/2012; 66(4):252-258. DOI: 10.1159/000341881
Source: PubMed


Although high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-rTMS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has been reported to improve mood symptoms in major depressive disorder (MDD), research on its impact on psychomotor symptoms is scarce. This study assessed the psychomotor effects of 1 and 10 sessions, respectively, of HF-rTMS over the left DLPFC.

Ten HF-rTMS sessions were applied in 21 medication-free MDD patients over a 2-week period. At the beginning, one placebo (sham)-controlled rTMS session was also applied in a cross-over, single-blind design. Psychomotor variables were digitally recorded during completion of a Fitts' task, at baseline, after the first and second real/sham session and at the end point.

The total 10-session treatment period resulted in a decrease of depression severity. One HF-rTMS session resulted in improvements on the Fitts' task, without a difference between active and sham stimulation, however. No further improvements occurred from session 2 to session 10.

No evidence was provided to link the observed psychomotor improvements to HF-rTMS stimulation, as a practice effect could have impacted the significant psychomotor outcomes.

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Available from: Chris Baeken, Mar 24, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) appears to have short-term antidepressant properties. The aim of the current study was to update our previous meta-analysis and to investigate factors associated with the antidepressant properties of rTMS. Method Following a systematic literature search conducted in Medline and PsycInfo, N=14 sham-controlled, parallel design studies (published after 2008 to August 2013) that had utilized rTMS of the DLPFC in major depression were included in the current meta-analysis. The sensitivity and moderator analyses also included data from N=40 studies (published in 1997–2008) from our previous meta-analysis. The effect size (Cohen’s d) in each study was the standardized difference in mean depression scores (on Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale) from baseline to final (after last session) in rTMS compared to sham groups. Results According to a random-effects model with inverse-variance weights, depression scores were significantly reduced after rTMS compared to sham in studies published from 2008–2013 based on N=659 patients (overall mean weighted d=−0.42, 95% confidence interval: −0.66, −0.18, P=0.001). Combining studies from our past and current meta-analyses (published in 1997–2013; N=54) revealed that depression was significantly reduced after left-fast (>1 Hz), right-slow (≤1 Hz), and bilateral (or sequential) rTMS of DLPFC compared to sham. Significant antidepressant properties of rTMS were observed in studies with patients who were treatment resistant, unipolar (or bipolar), non-psychotic, medication-free (or started on antidepressants concurrently with rTMS). According to univariate meta-regressions, depression scores were significantly lower in studies with more female patients and fewer stimuli per session. There was little evidence that publication bias occurred in the analysis. Conclusion According to this study, the largest meta-analysis to date, short-term antidepressant properties of rTMS are independent of concurrent antidepressants and might depend on sex and the number of stimuli per session.
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