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A rapid growth in computational power and an increasing availability of large, publicly accessible, multimodal data sets present new opportunities for psychology and neuroscience researchers to ask novel questions, and to approach old questions in novel ways. Studies of the personal characteristics, situation-specific factors, and sociocultural contexts that result in the onset, development, maintenance, and remission of psychopathology, are particularly well suited to benefit from machine learning methods. However, introductory textbooks for machine learning rarely tailor their guidance to the needs of psychology and neuroscience researchers. Similarly, the traditional statistical training of clinical scientists often does not incorporate these approaches. This chapter acts as an introduction to machine learning for researchers in the fields of clinical psychology and clinical neuroscience. It discusses these methods, illustrated through real and hypothetical applications in the fields of clinical psychology and clinical neuroscience. It touches on study design, selecting appropriate techniques, how (and how not) to interpret results, and more, to aid researchers who are interested in applying machine learning methods to clinical science data.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) holds promise for treating generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) but has only been studied in uncontrolled research.
This is the first randomised controlled trial (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01659736) to investigate the efficacy and neural correlates of rTMS in GAD.
Twenty five participants (active n = 13; sham, n = 12) enrolled. rTMS was targeted at the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC, 1 Hz, 90% resting motor threshold).
Response and remission rates were higher in the active v. sham groups and there were significant group × time interactions for anxiety, worry and depressive symptoms, favouring active v. sham. In addition, right DLPFC activation during a decision-making gambling task increased at post-treatment for active rTMS only, and changes in neuroactivation correlated significantly with changes in worry symptoms.
Findings provide preliminary evidence that rTMS may improve GAD symptoms in association with modifying neural activity in the stimulation site.
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