While Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is primarily characterized by mood disturbances, impaired attentional control is increasingly identified as a critical feature of depression. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (deepTMS), a noninvasive neuromodulatory technique, can modulate neural activity and induce neuroplasticity changes in brain regions recruited by attentional processes. This study examined whether acute and long-term high-frequency repetitive deepTMS to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can attenuate attentional deficits associated with MDD. Twenty-one MDD patients and 26 matched control subjects (CS) were administered the Beck Depression Inventory and the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) at baseline. MDD patients were readministered the SART and depressive assessments following a single session (n = 21) and after 4 weeks (n = 13) of high-frequency (20 Hz) repetitive deepTMS applied to the DLPFC. To control for the practice effect, CS (n = 26) were readministered the SART a further two times. The MDD group exhibited deficits in sustained attention and cognitive inhibition. Both acute and long-term high-frequency repetitive frontal deepTMS ameliorated sustained attention deficits in the MDD group. Improvement after acute deepTMS was related to attentional recovery after long-term deepTMS. Longer-term improvement in sustained attention was not related to antidepressant effects of deepTMS treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology