One Way or Another: Treatment Effects of 1Hz rTMS Using Different Current Directions in a Small Sample of Tinnitus Patients

SOURCE: Neuroscience Letters. 797:137026, 2023 02 16.

AUTHORS: Schoisswohl S; Langguth B; Weber FC; Abdelnaim MA; Hebel T; Mack W; Schecklmann M

INTRODUCTION: So far studies on the efficacy of repetitive transcranialmagnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a treatment for tinnitus are inconclusive. Two large scale placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials (RCT) examined the efficacy of low frequency temporal cortex rTMS and report different findings. As the used TMS devices differ in their used primary current direction by default, this technical parameter was speculated as a potential reason for the observed incongruences in tinnitus-related outcomes. The aim of the present pilot study was to investigate the treatment effect of 1Hz rTMS using two different current flows.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nine tinnitus patients were treated in two different groups each comprised of 10 treatment sessions a 3000 biphasic pulses of 1Hz rTMS applied over the left temporo-parietal cortex using either an anterior-posterior to posterior-anterior (AP-PA) or posterior-anterior to anterior-posterior (PA-AP) induced current flow.

RESULTS: 1Hz rTMS with a primary posterior-anterior to anterior-posterior (PA-AP) current flow caused a superior reduction in tinnitus-related symptoms, particularly tinnitus unpleasantness, loudness and tinnitus-related distress.

CONCLUSIONS: The present pilot study demonstrated that the technical TMS parameter current direction might be essential for the efficacy of rTMS as a treatment for tinnitus. Systematic investigations of technical TMS parameters like current direction in larger samples of tinnitus patients are highly needed.