OTHER APPLICATIONS

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation improves cognitive function of Alzheimer’s disease patients

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) acts as a kind of widely-applied and non-invasive method in the intervention of some neurological disorders. This prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigates the effect of rTMS on 30 cases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) participants, who were classified into mild and moderate groups. Neuropsychological tests were carried out using the AD Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and World Health Organization University of California-Los Angeles, Auditory Verbal Learning Test (WHO-UCLA AVLT) before, immediately after, and 6 weeks after the intervention. In this work, data from 30 AD patients revealed that there was no obvious interaction effect of time-by-group. The ADAS-cog, MMSE and WHO-UCLA AVLT score in the rTMS group was significantly improved compared with baselines at 6 weeks after treatment (all p<0.05). Meanwhile, MoCA scores were also obviously ameliorated in the mild AD patients with rTMS. Besides, subgroup analysis showed that the effect of rTMS on the memory and language of mild AD patients was superior to those of moderate AD patients. In conclusion, our findings suggested that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation improves cognitive function, memory and language level of AD patients, especially in the mild stage of AD. Thus, rTMS can be recommended as a promising adjuvant therapy combined with cholinesterase inhibitors at the mild stage of AD patients.

Targeting Withdrawal Symptoms in Men Addicted to Methamphetamine With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Drug withdrawal is associated with aversive experiences, which promotes relapse.1 Different neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, signal transduction pathways, and brain regions (especially the nucleus accumbens) have been implicated in the occurrence of withdrawal syndrome during abstinence from addictive drugs.2 Withdrawal from methamphetamine results in fatigue, irritability, disturbed sleep, exhaustion, and symptoms of depression and anxiety, which might last for months. Currently, limited pharmaceutical tools are available for detoxification from methamphetamine; vitamins, antidepressants, and antipsychotics have been used to ameliorate withdrawal symptoms in clinical practices.3

In an animal study, optogenetic stimulation of the thalamic-accumbens dopamine D2 medium spiny neuron pathway alleviated somatic signs induced by opiate withdrawal.4 However, it is unknown if noninvasive brain stimulation could facilitate detoxification during the withdrawal period in humans. In this study, we used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) targeting the left dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to modulate symptoms of withdrawal from methamphetamine.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation in autism spectrum disorder: Challenges, promise, and roadmap for future research

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a behaviorally defined complex neurodevelopmental syndrome characterized by impairments in social communication, by the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors, interests and activities, and by abnormalities in sensory reactivity. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a promising, emerging tool for the study and potential treatment of ASD. Recent studies suggest that TMS measures provide rapid and noninvasive pathophysiological ASD biomarkers. Furthermore, repetitive TMS (rTMS) may represent a novel treatment strategy for reducing some of the core and associated ASD symptoms. However, the available literature on the TMS use in ASD is preliminary, composed of studies with methodological limitations. Thus, off-label clinical rTMS use for therapeutic interventions in ASD without an investigational device exemption and outside of an IRB approved research trial is premature pending further, adequately powered and controlled trials. Leaders in this field have gathered annually for a two-day conference (prior to the 2014 and 2015 International Meeting for Autism Research, IMFAR) to share recent progress, promote collaboration across laboratories, and establish consensus on protocols. Here we review the literature in the use of TMS in ASD in the context of the unique challenges required for the study and exploration of treatment strategies in this population. We also suggest future directions for this field of investigations. While its true potential in ASD has yet to be delineated, TMS represents an innovative research tool and a novel, possibly transformative approach to the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.