Cognitive and volumetric predictors of response to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) - A prospective follow-up study

Christina P. Furtado*, Kate E. Hoy, Jerome J. Maller, Greg Savage, Zafiris J. Daskalakis, Paul B. Fitzgerald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


As the prevalence of treatment resistant depression (TRD) continues to rise, it remains a clinically important issue to identify neurobiological-, patient- and treatment-related factors that could potentially predict response to treatment. Medial temporal lobe (MTL) structures, in particular the hippocampus and amygdala have been implicated in inferior treatment response. The role of related structures such as the entorhinal cortex and the impact of MTL abnormalities on neurocognitive function, however, have not been systematically examined. The current study investigated MTL abnormalities and neurocognitive characteristics of eventual treatment responders and non-responders to a course of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in order to identify potential predictors of treatment outcome. Prior to rTMS treatment all patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological assessment. MRI analysis was conducted using FreeSurfer 5.0. There was a 50% response rate following up to a 6-week course of daily rTMS treatments. Treatment response was defined as 50% reduction in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and BDI-II scores from baseline. There was no difference in pre-treatment neurocognitive profiles and MTL volumes between eventual treatment responders and non-responders. Smaller pre-treatment left hippocampus volume showed a trend towards predicting eventual subjective improvement in depressive symptomatology. Although preliminary, our findings suggest that structural abnormalities may have some potential for predicting outcome to rTMS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2012

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