Safety and benefits of distance-adjusted prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation in depressed patients 55-75 years of age: A pilot study

Ziad Nahas, Xingbao Li, F. Andrew Kozel, Dario Mirzki, Mohammed Memon, Kristen Miller, Kaori Yamanaka, Berry Anderson, Jeong Ho Chae, Daryl E. Bohning, Jacobo Mintzer, Mark S. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

In contrast to the effects seen in younger adults, depressed elderly subjects have shown more modest antidepressant responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We theorized that higher stimulation intensities in older depressed subjects with prefrontal atrophy might be needed to stimulate underlying cortex. In an open design with patients on stable baseline medications, we treated 18 treatment-resistant elderly depressed subjects (mean age 61.2 ± 7.3) with 15 rTMS sessions over 3 weeks. We adjusted the delivered TMS intensity to account for MRI measured prefrontal atrophy. The skull to prefrontal cortex distance increased with age, whereas the skull to motor cortex distance did not. All subjects tolerated the higher doses well. The average intensity used was 114% of motor threshold (MT) with a range from 103-141% MT. There was an average 35% decline over the 3 weeks in HRSD scores. After 3 weeks of treatment, 27% (5/18) met response criteria (> 50% improvement), with four of these five also meeting criteria for remission (exit Hamilton Depression Score < 8). These initial pilot findings support the need for blinded studies using prefrontal TMS in an elderly population, testing whether TMS, delivered at stimulation intensities calculated to overcome atrophy, is more effective than TMS without adjusting for atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Atrophy
  • Depression
  • Geriatric
  • Prefrontal
  • TMS

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