Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cumulative cognitive effects

[Speaker] Martin, Donel:1
[Co-author] Forster, Jane:1, Mcclintock, Shawn:1, Loo, Colleen:1
1:Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales (Australia)

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a proven therapeutic treatment for treatment resistant depression and is in increasing clinical use throughout the world. Based upon the proven effects in depressed patients, researchers have additionally similarly investigated potential therapeutic effects in other clinical populations, for example, schizophrenia. Despite the large number of clinical trials conducted using rTMS, however, it remains unclear whether rTMS treatment additionally has cognitive enhancing effects. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we therefore aimed to quantitatively investigate the potential for such cognitive effects. Thirty one studies met our inclusion criteria. Pooled results demonstrated an overall small-sized improvement in working memory and task specific improvements on Trails A and Trails B performance following acute rTMS treatment. Task specific cognitive effects were not associated with antidepressant effects in the studies conducted in depressed patients. These results show for the first time that rTMS treatment causes lasting cognitive enhancement.
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