Enhancing Cognitive Restructuring with Concurrent Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Transdiagnostic Randomized Controlled Trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

INTRODUCTION: Emotional dysregulation constitutes a serious public health problem in need of novel transdiagnostic treatments. OBJECTIVE: To this aim, we developed and tested a one-time intervention that integrates behavioral skills training with concurrent repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). METHODS: Forty-six adults who met criteria for at least one DSM-5 disorder and self-reported low use of cognitive restructuring (CR) were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial that used a between-subjects design. Participants were taught CR and underwent active rTMS applied at 10 Hz over the right (n = 17) or left (n = 14) dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) or sham rTMS (n = 15) while practicing reframing and emotional distancing in response to autobiographical stressors. RESULTS: Those who received active left or active right as opposed to sham rTMS exhibited enhanced regulation (ds = 0.21-0.62) as measured by psychophysiological indices during the intervention (higher high-frequency heart rate variability, lower regulation duration). Those who received active rTMS over the left dlPFC also self-reported reduced distress throughout the intervention (d = 0.30), higher likelihood to use CR, and lower daily distress during the week following the intervention. The procedures were acceptable and feasible with few side effects. CONCLUSIONS: These findings show that engaging frontal circuits simultaneously with cognitive skills training and rTMS may be clinically feasible, well-tolerated and may show promise for the treatment of transdiagnostic emotional dysregulation. Larger follow-up studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of this novel therapeutic approach.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Neacsiu, AD; Beynel, L; Powers, JP; Szabo, ST; Appelbaum, LG; Lisanby, SH; LaBar, KS

Published Date

  • 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 91 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 94 - 106

PubMed ID

  • 34551415

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8891052

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1423-0348

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1159/000518957


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Switzerland