Repetitive TMS Does Not Improve Cognition in Patients with TBI

Repetitive TMS Does Not Improve Cognition in Patients with TBI

Neurology. 93(2):e190-e199, 2019 07 09.

Neville IS; Zaninotto AL; Hayashi CY; Rodrigues PA; Galhardoni R; Ciampi de Andrade D; Brunoni AR; Amorim RLO; Teixeira MJ; Paiva WS.

To determine whether high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) improves cognition in patients with severe traumatic brain injury.

A single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of rTMS was conducted in patients aged 18-60 years with chronic (>12 months postinjury) diffuse axonal injury (DAI). Patients were randomized to either a sham or real group in a 1:1 ratio. A 10-session rTMS protocol was used with 10-Hz stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Neuropsychological assessments were performed at 3 time points: at baseline, after the 10th rTMS session, and 90 days after intervention. The primary outcome was change in executive function evaluated using the Trail Making Test Part B.

Thirty patients with chronic DAI met the study criteria. Between-group comparisons of performance on TMT Part B at baseline and after the 10th rTMS session did not differ between groups (p = 0.680 and p = 0.341, respectively). No significant differences were observed on other neuropsychological tests. No differences in adverse events between treatment groups were observed.

Cognitive function in individuals with chronic DAI is not improved by high-frequency rTMS over the left DLPFC, though it appears safe and well-tolerated in this population.