Objective: The objective of this study is to review current literature for the efficacy of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment for cognitive deficits after Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/concussion.
Background: TBI is a major public health problem and can cause substantial disability. TBI can lead to Post Concussive Syndrome (PCS) which consists of neuro-motor, cognitive, behavioral/affective, and emotional symptoms. Cognitive deficits can significantly impact functionality. The outcome of neuropsychopharmacological treatment is limited, with risk for side effects. TMS is a form of non-invasive neuromodulation which is FDA-approved for treatment-resistant depression. However, there is limited understanding about its application in addressing cognitive deficits after TBI. We therefore sought to examine current research pertaining to the application of TMS in post-TBI cognitive deficits.
Methods: We searched the PubMed research database with the specific terms “TMS in cognitive deficits after TBI”, “rTMS” and “post concussive syndrome.” We assessed clinical trials where cognition was measured either as a primary or secondary variable. Case studies/reports were excluded.
Results: One non-controlled, pilot study was found that assessed cognition after TMS as a secondary variable in TBI. The aim of the study was to assess safety, tolerability and efficacy of repetitive TMS for treatment of PCS after mild TBI (mTBI). Patients who had sustained mTBI over three months prior and had a PCS Symptom Scale score of over 21 were selected. Repetitive TMS (rTMS) was used as the intervention with 20 sessions of rTMS using a figure-8 coil attached to MagPro stimulator. Cognitive symptoms were assessed using subjective self-report scales and objective tests for attention and speed of processing domains. Neuropsychological tests that were used include Trails A & B, Ruff’s 2 & 7 Automatic speed test, Stroop test, Language test for phonemic, and category fluency, Rey AVLT test. The study showed a reduction in overall severity of PCS symptoms but no significant changes on the cognitive symptoms questionnaire or on the majority of neuropsychological test scores.
Conclusion: Despite the limitation in this study with the lack of a control group, there appears to be a good signal for the clinical application of TMS for post-concussive syndrome after TBI/concussion. A more robust, large well-controlled study may be very reasonable approach in the future to evaluate efficacy of rTMS.
1. Koski L1, Kolivakis T, Yu C, Chen JK, Delaney S, Ptito A. Noninvasive brain stimulation for persistent postconcussion symptoms in mild traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2015 Jan 1;32(1):38-44. https://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2014.3449.
2. Bashir S1, Vernet M, Yoo WK, Mizrahi I, Theoret H, Pascual-Leone A. Changes in cortical plasticity after mild traumatic brain injury. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2012;30(4):277-82. https://doi.org/10.3233/RNN-2012-110207.
3. Demirtas-Tatlidede A1, Vahabzadeh-Hagh AM, Bernabeu M, Tormos JM, Pascual-Leone A.Noninvasive brain stimulation in traumatic brain injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2012 Jul-Aug;27(4):274-92. https://doi.org/10.1097/HTR.0b013e318217df55.
4. Neville IS, Hayashi CY, El Hajj SA, Zaninotto AL, Sabino JP, Sousa LM Jr, Nagumo MM, Brunoni AR, Shieh BD, Amorim RL, Teixeira MJ, Paiva WS. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) for the cognitive rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2015 Oct 5;16:440. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-015-0944-2.
via Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) application in cognitive deficits after Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/concussion – Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation