Left Frontal Pole Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Reduces Cigarette Cue-Reactivity in Correlation With Verbal Memory Performance

SOURCE: Drug & Alcohol Dependence. 235:109450, 2022 Jun 01.

AUTHORS: Marques RC; Marques D; Vieira L; Cantilino A

BACKGROUND: Although left frontal pole (LFP) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been recently investigated for the treatment of different substance use disorders, there is no current
evidence that it can effectively influence craving or clinical outcomes in smokers. A single session of 1 Hz rTMS over LFP is proposed to explore short-term effects of this protocol in tobacco use disorder.

METHODS: A pilot randomized trial compared 1 Hz rTMS of the LFP (n = 12) and primary motor cortex (n = 12) in a high-craving, severe nicotine dependence population (9 females, 15 males). A cigarette cue-reactivity paradigm with smoking-related and neutral visual stimuli was used for primary outcome measures. Chronic craving, dependence severity, impulsivity and cognitive measures were also obtained.

RESULTS: Compared to baseline, LFP rTMS significantly reduced cue-reactivity to both smoking-related and neutral cue types, while no change occurred in the motor cortex group. Reactivity to affectively neutral pictures was significantly reduced in the LFP vs. motor cortex analysis. There was one robust correlation between verbal memory recall score and reduction of neutral cue-reactivity.

CONCLUSIONS: LFP 1 Hz rTMS significantly reduced cigarette cue-reactivity. Association of change in cue-reactivity with verbal memory performance suggests a relationship between craving experiences and declarative memory systems that seems relevant to rTMS effects.