[ARTICLE] Trends of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation From 2009 to 2018: A Bibliometric Analysis – Full Text

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) technology, which is amongst the most used non-invasive brain stimulation techniques currently available, has developed rapidly from 2009 to 2018. However, reports on the trends of rTMS using bibliometric analysis are rare. The goal of the present bibliometric analysis is to analyze and visualize the trends of rTMS, including general (publication patterns) and emerging trends (research frontiers), over the last 10 years by using the visual analytic tool CiteSpace V. Publications related to rTMS from 2009 to 2018 were retrieved from the Web of Science (WoS) database, including 2,986 peer-reviewed articles/reviews. Active authors, journals, institutions, and countries were identified by WoS and visualized by CiteSpace V, which could also detect burst changes to identify emerging trends. GraphPad Prism 8 was used to analyze the time trend of annual publication outputs. The USA ranked first in this field. Pascual-Leone A (author A), Fitzgerald PB (author B), George MS (author C), Lefaucheur JP (author D), and Fregni F (author E) made great contributions to this field of study. The most prolific institution to publish rTMS-related publications in the last decade was the University of Toronto. The journal Brain Stimulation published most papers. Lefaucheur et al.’s paper in 2014, and the keyword “sham controlled trial” showed the strongest citation bursts by the end of 2018, which indicates increased attention to the underlying work, thereby indicating the research frontiers. This study reveals the publication patterns and emerging trends of rTMS based on the records published from 2009 to 2018. The insights obtained have reference values for the future research and application of rTMS.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a variant of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) that can be applied to the modulation of corticospinal excitability from outside the skull via a time-varying magnetic field to generate electric current in the underlying brain tissue, leading to neuronal depolarization (Maeda et al., 2000Klooster et al., 2016Barker and Shields, 2017). rTMS is the most widely used non-invasive brain stimulation technique currently available (George and Aston-Jones, 2010Miniussi et al., 2013Cirillo et al., 2017Lowe et al., 2017Lucena et al., 2019). Numerous studies have investigated the effects and mechanisms underlying various rTMS protocols, which remain incompletely understood (Fitzgerald et al., 2006bBoonzaier et al., 2018Zorzo et al., 2019). Low-frequency (≤1.0 Hz) rTMS usually reduces cortical excitability, whereas high-frequency (>1.0 Hz) rTMS (HF-rTMS) raises excitability (Maeda et al., 2000Rossini et al., 2015). Over the last decade, rTMS has been explored as a tool for the treatment of various neuropsychiatric conditions, including, but not limited to, depression, neuropathic pain, stroke, epilepsy, anxiety, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, and autism (Pascual-Leone et al., 1996Hummel and Cohen, 2006Hao et al., 2013Hosomi et al., 2013). Combined strategies, i.e., combination of rTMS with neuroimaging techniques, medication, physiotherapy, or psychotherapy, have also been investigated to optimize the use of the technique (Reithler et al., 2011Dayan et al., 2013Kwon et al., 2016Jansen et al., 2019Terranova et al., 2019).

Bibliometrics is a quantitative method for analyzing literature in analytical science and assessing trends in research activities over time (Oelrich et al., 2007Ellegaard and Wallin, 2015Thompson and Walker, 2015). Bibliometric studies have been used in various areas, such as medical big data, pain, cognitive function, and neuroimaging, in recent years (Yeung et al., 2017Liao et al., 2018Wang et al., 2019Zheng and Wang, 2019). A considerable number of scholars and academic journals have focused on publishing rTMS research over the last decade. However, reports of trends of rTMS using bibliometric analysis are rare.

This study conducts a bibliometric analysis of rTMS on the basis of records published from 2009 to 2018 to identify the publication patterns and emerging trends of this technique and gain new insights to guide future research and application.[…]


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