A double-blind pilot dosing study of low field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
BACKGROUND: Low field magnetic stimulation is a potentially rapid-acting treatment for depression with mood-enhancing effects in as little as one 20-min session. The most convincing data for LFMS has come from treating bipolar depression. We examined whether LFMS also has rapid mood-enhancing effects in treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, and whether these effects are dose-dependent. OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesized that a single 20-min session of LFMS would reduce depressive symptom severity and that the magnitude of this change would be greater after three 20-min sessions than after a single 20-min session. METHODS: In a double-blind randomized controlled trial, 30 participants (age 21-65) with treatment-resistant depression were randomized to three 20-min active or sham LFMS treatments with 48 h between treatments. Response was assessed immediately following LFMS treatment using the 6-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-6), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) and the Visual Analog Scale. RESULTS: Following the 3rd session of LFMS, the effect of LFMS on VAS and HAMD-6 was superior to sham (F (1, 24) = 7.45, p = 0.03, Bonferroni-Holm corrected; F (1, 22) = 6.92, p = 0.03, Bonferroni-Holm corrected, respectively). There were no differences between sham and LFMS following the initial or second session with the effect not becoming significant until after the third session. CONCLUSIONS: Three 20-min LFMS sessions were required for active LFMS to have a mood-enhancing effect for individuals with treatment-resistant depression. As this effect may be transient, future work should address dosing schedules of longer treatment courses as well as biomarker-based targeting of LFMS to optimize patient selection and treatment outcomes.
Dubin, MJ; Ilieva, IP; Deng, Z-D; Thomas, J; Cochran, A; Kravets, K; Brody, BD; Christos, PJ; Kocsis, JH; Liston, C; Gunning, FM
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