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Distinctive neurocognitive effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy in major depression

  • Svenja C. Schulze-Rauschenbach (a1), Uta Harms (a1), Thomas E. Schlaepfer (a1), Wolfgang Maier (a1), Peter Falkai (a1) and Michael Wagner (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Studies have compared electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) with regard to clinical efficacy in the treatment of depression, but no study has yet addressed the differential impact on cognition.

Aims

To compare the neurocognitive effects of unilateral ECT and rTMS.

Method

Thirty patients with treatment-refractory non-psychotic major depression received an average of ten treatments with either unilateral ECT or left prefrontal rTMS and were assessed for objective and subjective cognitive impairments before and about a week after treatment.

Results

Treatment response was comparable (46% of the ECT group and 44% of the rTMS group showed a reduction of 50% or more in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores). In patients treated with rTMS, cognitive performance remained constant or improved and memory complaints alleviated, whereas in the ECT group memory recall deficits emerged and memory complaints remained.

Conclusions

In contrastto unilateral ECT, rTMS has no adverse memory effects.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Michael Wagner, Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, D 53105 Bonn, Germany. Tel: +49 228 287 6377; fax: +49 228 287 6371; e-mail: michael.wagner@ukb.uni-bonn.de

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Distinctive neurocognitive effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy in major depression

  • Svenja C. Schulze-Rauschenbach (a1), Uta Harms (a1), Thomas E. Schlaepfer (a1), Wolfgang Maier (a1), Peter Falkai (a1) and Michael Wagner (a1)...
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