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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been employed to treat drug dependence, reduce drug use and improve cognition. The aim of the study was to analyze the effectiveness of intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) on cognition in individuals with methamphetamine use disorder (MUD).
This was a secondary analysis of 40 MUD subjects receiving left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC) iTBS or sham iTBS for 20 times over 10 days (twice-daily). Changes in working memory (WM) accuracy, reaction time, and sensitivity index were analyzed before and after active and sham rTMS treatment. Resting-state EEG was also acquired to identify potential biological changes that may relate to any cognitive improvement.
The results showed that iTBS increased WM accuracy and discrimination ability, and improved reaction time relative to sham iTBS. iTBS also reduced resting-state delta power over the left prefrontal region. This reduction in resting-state delta power correlated with the changes in WM.
Prefrontal iTBS may enhance WM performance in MUD subjects. iTBS induced resting EEG changes raising the possibility that such findings may represent a biological target of iTBS treatment response.
The placebo response in depression clinical trials is a major contributing factor for failure to establish the efficacy of novel and repurposed treatments. However, it is not clear as to what the placebo response in treatment-resistant depression (TRD) patients is or whether it differs across treatment modalities. Our objective was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the magnitude of the placebo response in TRD patients across different treatment modalities and its possible moderators.
Searches were conducted on MEDLINE and PsychInfo from inception to January 24, 2020. Only studies that recruited TRD patients and randomization to a placebo (or sham) arm in a pharmacotherapy, brain stimulation, or psychotherapy study were included (PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020190465). The primary outcome was the Hedges’ g for the reported depression scale using a random-effects model. Secondary outcomes included moderators assessed via meta-regression and response and remission rate. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the Egger's Test and a funnel plot. Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool was used to estimate risks.
46 studies met our inclusion criteria involving a total of 3083 participants (mean (SD) age: 45.7 (6.2); female: 52.4%). The pooled placebo effect for all modalities was large (N = 3083, g = 1.08 ,95% CI [0.95-1.20)I 2 = 0.1). The placebo effect in studies of specific treatment modalities did not significantly differ: oral medications g = 1.14 (95%CI:0.99-1.29); parenteral medications g = 1.32 (95%CI:0.59-2.04); ayahuasca g = 0.47 (95%CI:-0.28-1.17); rTMS g = 0.93 (95%CI:0.63-1.23); tDCS g = 1.32 (95%CI:0.52-2.11); invasive brain stimulation g = 1.06 (95%CI:0.64-1.47). There were no psychotherapy trials that met our eligibility criteria. Similarly, response and remission rates were comparable across modalities. Heterogeneity was large. Two variables predicted a lager placebo effect: open-label prospective design (B:0.32, 95%CI: 0.05-0.58; p:0.02) and sponsoring by a pharmaceutical or medical device company (B:0.39, 95%CI:0.13-0.65, p:0.004)). No risk of publication bias was found.
The overall placebo effect in TRD studies was large (g = 1.08) and did not differ among treatment modalities. A better understanding of the placebo response in TRD will require: standardizing the definition of TRD, head-to-head comparisons of treatment modalities, an assessment of patient expectations and experiences, and standardized reporting of outcomes.
Pilot randomized double-blind-controlled trial of repetitive paired associative stimulation (rPAS), a paradigm that combines transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) with peripheral median nerve stimulation.
To study the impact of rPAS on DLPFC plasticity and working memory performance in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Thirty-two patients with AD (females = 16), mean (SD) age = 76.4 (6.3) years were randomized 1:1 to receive a 2-week (5 days/week) course of active or control rPAS. DLPFC plasticity was assessed using single session PAS combined with electroencephalography (EEG) at baseline and on days 1, 7, and 14 post-rPAS. Working memory and theta–gamma coupling were assessed at the same time points using the N-back task and EEG.
There were no significant differences between the active and control rPAS groups on DLPFC plasticity or working memory performance after the rPAS intervention. There were significant main effects of time on DLPFC plasticity, working memory, and theta–gamma coupling, only for the active rPAS group. Further, on post hoc within-group analyses done to generate hypotheses for future research, as compared to baseline, only the rPAS group improved on post-rPAS day 1 on all three indices. Finally, there was a positive correlation between working memory performance and theta–gamma coupling.
This study did not show a beneficial effect of rPAS for DLPFC plasticity or working memory in AD. However, post hoc analyses showed promising results favoring rPAS and supporting further research on this topic. (Clinicaltrials.gov-NCT01847586)
Mood disorders, i.e. major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorders, are leading sources of disability worldwide. Currently available treatments do not yield remission in approximately a third of patients with a mood disorder. This is in part because these treatments do not target a specific core pathology underlying these heterogeneous disorders. In recent years, abnormal inflammatory processes have been identified as putative pathophysiological mechanisms and treatment targets in mood disorders, particularly among individuals with treatment-resistant conditions.
In this selective review, we aimed to summarise recent advances in the field of immunopsychiatry, including emerging pathophysiological models and findings from treatment ttrials of immunomodulatory agents for both MDD and bipolar disorders.
We performed a literature review by searching Medline for clinical trials of immunomodulating agents as monotherapy or adjunctive treatments in MDD and bipolar disorders. Included studies are randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster RCTs or cross-over trials of immunomodulating agents that had an active comparator or a placebo-arm.
Current evidence shows an association between inflammation and mood symptoms. However, there is conflicting evidence on whether this link is causal.
Future studies should focus on identifying specific neurobiological underpinnings for the putative causal association between an activated inflammatory response and mood disorders. Results of these studies are needed before further treatment trials of immunomodulatory agents can be justified.
Patients with severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, may be legally mandated to undergo psychiatric treatment. Patients’ experiences in these situations are not well characterized. This systematic review of qualitative studies aims to describe the experiences of patients with schizophrenia and related disorders who have undergone legally mandated treatment.
Four bibliographic databases were searched: CINAHL Plus (1981–2019), EMBASE (1947–2019), MEDLINE (1946–2019), and PsycINFO (1806–2019). These databases were searched for keywords, text words, and medical subject headings related to schizophrenia, legally mandated treatment and patient experience. The reference lists of included studies and systematic reviews were also investigated. The identified titles and abstracts were reviewed for study inclusion. A thematic analysis was completed for the synthesis of positive and negative aspects of legally mandated treatment.
A total of 4,008 citations were identified. Eighteen studies were included in the final synthesis. For the thematic analysis, results were collated under two broad themes; positive patient experiences and negative patient experiences. Patients were satisfied when their autonomy was respected, and dissatisfied when it was not. Patients often retrospectively recognized that their treatment was beneficial. Furthermore, negative aspects of the treatment included deficits in communication and a lack of information.
Intervention research has historically focused on clinical outcomes and the quantitative aspects of treatment. Thus, this study provides insight into the qualitative aspects of patients’ experiences with legally mandated treatment. Recognizing these opinions and experiences can lead to better attitudes toward treatment for patients with schizophrenia and related psychiatric illnesses.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-pharmacological intervention for depression. It has mixed results, possibly caused by study heterogeneity.
To assess tDCS efficacy and to explore individual response predictors.
Systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis.
Data were gathered from six randomised sham-controlled trials, enrolling 289 patients. Active tDCS was significantly superior to sham for response (34% v. 19% respectively, odds ratio (OR) = 2.44, 95% CI 1.38–4.32, number needed to treat (NNT) = 7), remission (23.1% v. 12.7% respectively, OR = 2.38, 95% CI 1.22–4.64, NNT = 9) and depression improvement (B coefficient 0.35, 95% CI 0.12–0.57). Mixed-effects models showed that, after adjustment for other predictors and confounders, treatment-resistant depression and higher tDCS ‘doses' were, respectively, negatively and positively associated with tDCS efficacy.
The effect size of tDCS treatment was comparable with those reported for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and antidepressant drug treatment in primary care. The most important parameters for optimisation in future trials are depression refractoriness and tDCS dose.
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