A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of rTMS Effects on Cognitive Enhancement in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease
Neurobiology of Aging. 86:1-10, 2020 02.
Chou YH; Ton That V; Sundman M.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique, has emerged as a promising treatment for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Currently, however, the effectiveness of this therapy is unclear because of the low statistical power and heterogeneity of previous trials. The purpose of the meta-analysis was to systematically characterize the effectiveness of various combinations of rTMS parameters on different cognitive domains in patients with MCI and AD. Thirteen studies comprising 293 patients with MCI or AD were included in this analysis. Random-effects analysis revealed an overall medium-to-large effect size (0.77) favoring active rTMS over sham rTMS in the improvement of cognitive functions. Subgroup analyses revealed that (1) high-frequency rTMS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and low-frequency rTMS at the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex significantly improved memory functions; (2) high-frequency rTMS targeting the right inferior frontal gyrus significantly enhanced executive performance; and (3) the effects of 5-30 consecutive rTMS sessions could last for 4-12 weeks. Potential mechanisms of rTMS effects on cognitive functions are discussed.