On this page you find scientific medical studies concerning the treatments we offer at our clinics. Read for example about the effectiveness of Ketamine treatment for severe depression and other pathologies, rTMS treatment during pregnancy and the use and effectiveness of neurofeedback, HRV biofeedback and EMDR.
Ketamine for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial
- Jerome H Taylor,
- Angeli Landeros-Weisenberger,
- Catherine Coughlin,
- Jilian Mulqueen,
- Jessica A Johnson,
- Daniel Gabriel,
- Margot O Reed,
- Ewgeni Jakubovski&
- Michael H Bloch
- 1774 Accesses
- 26 Citations
- 35 Altmetric
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Many patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience inadequate symptom relief from available treatments. Ketamine is a potent N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist with a potentially novel mechanism of action for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Therefore, we conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial in 18 adults with DSM-5 SAD and compared the effects between intravenous ketamine (0.5 mg/kg over 40 min) and placebo (normal saline) on social phobia symptoms. Ketamine and placebo infusions were administered in a random order with a 28-day washout period between infusions. Ratings of anxiety were assessed 3-h post-infusion and followed for 14 days. We used linear mixed models to assess the impact of ketamine and placebo on anxiety symptoms. Outcomes were blinded ratings on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) and self-reported anxiety on a visual analog scale (VAS-Anxiety). We also used the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare the proportion of treatment responders. Based on prior studies, we defined response as a greater than 35% LSAS reduction and 50% VAS-Anxiety reduction. We found ketamine resulted in a significantly greater reduction in anxiety relative to placebo on the LSAS (Time × Treatment: F9,115=2.6, p=0.01) but not the VAS-Anxiety (Time × Treatment: F10,141=0.4, p=0.95). Participants were significantly more likely to exhibit a treatment response after ketamine infusion relative to placebo in the first 2 weeks following infusion measured on the LSAS (33.33% response ketamine vs0% response placebo, Wilcoxon signed-rank test z=2.24, p=0.025) and VAS (88.89% response ketamine vs 52.94% response placebo, Wilcoxon signed-rank test z=2.12, p=0.034). In conclusion, this proof-of-concept trial provides initial evidence that ketamine may be effective in reducing anxiety.
Effects of ketamine in patients with treatment-refractory generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders: Exploratory double-blind psychoactive-controlled replication study
Show all authors
Paul Glue, Shona Neehoff, Amandine Sabadel, …
First Published September 17, 2019 Research Article Find in PubMed
We previously reported that ketamine has anxiolytic effects in patients with treatment-resistant generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders.
The purpose of this study was to replicate our earlier report about ketamine‘s anxiolytic activity, using a more robust study design.
This was a double-blind, psychoactive-controlled ascending dose study in 12 patients with treatment-resistant generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders who were not currently depressed. Ascending doses of ketamine (0.25, 0.5, 1 mg/kg) were administered at weekly intervals, and midazolam 0.01 mg/kg, the control, was randomly inserted into the ketamine dose sequence. Assessments included ratings of anxiety and dissociation, safety and tolerability, and blood samples for ketamine pharmacokinetics and BDNF concentrations.
Improvements in anxiety ratings occurred within an hour of ketamine dosing, and persisted for up to 1 week. A dose-response profile was noted for anxiolytic effects, dissociative side effects, and changes in blood pressure and heart rate after ketamine dosing. Midazolam had minor brief effects on anxiety ratings. Ketamine was safe and well tolerated. Ketamine pharmacokinetics were correlated with dissociation ratings. Serum BDNF concentrations declined over time and were similar for all treatments.
Ketamine may be a potential therapeutic option for patients with treatment-resistant generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders.
Single and repeated ketamine infusions for reduction of suicidal ideation in treatment-resistant depression
Jennifer L. Phillips1,2, Sandhaya Norris1,2, Jeanne Talbot1,2, Taylor Hatchard1, Abigail Ortiz 1, Meagan Birmingham1, Olabisi Owoeye1,2, Lisa A. Batten1 and Pierre Blier1,2,3
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Repeated administration of subanesthetic intravenous ketamine may prolong the rapid decrease in suicidal ideation (SI) elicited by single infusions. The purpose of this secondary analysis was to evaluate reduction in SI with a single ketamine infusion compared with an active control, and prolonged suppression of SI with repeated and maintenance infusions. Thirty-seven participants with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and baseline SI first received a single ketamine infusion during a randomized, double-blind crossover with midazolam. Following relapse of depressive symptoms, participants received six open-label ketamine infusions administered thrice-weekly over 2 weeks. Antidepressant responders (≥50% decrease in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS] scores) received four further open-label infusions administered once-weekly. Changes in SI were assessed with the suicide items on the MADRS (item 10, MADRS-SI) and the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report (item 12, QIDS-SI). Linear mixed models revealed that compared with midazolam, a single ketamine infusion elicited larger reduction in SI (P = 0.01), with maximal effects measured at 7 days postinfusion (P < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.83). Participants had cumulative reductions in MADRS-SI scores with repeated infusions (P < 0.001), and no further change with maintenance infusions (P = 0.94). QIDS-SI results were consistent with MADRS-SI. Overall, 69% of participants had a complete alleviation of SI following repeated infusions. In TRD, single and repeated ketamine infusions resulted in decreases in SI which were maintained with once-weekly maintenance infusions. This study adds to the growing body of research suggesting ketamine as a possible novel treatment strategy for SI in mood disorders.
Neuropsychopharmacology (2019) 0:1–7; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-019-0570-x
Ketamine induces rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects in chronic pain induced depression: Role of MAPK signaling pathway
Volume 100, 8 June 2020,
Chronic pain produces psychologic distress, which often leads to mood disorders such as depression. Co-existing chronic pain and depression pose a serious socio-economic burden and result in disability affecting millions of individuals, which urges the development of treatment strategies targeting this comorbidity. Ketamine, a noncompetitive antagonist of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, is shown to be efficient in treating both pain and depression-related symptoms. However, the molecular characteristics of its role in chronic pain-induced depression remain largely unexplored. Hence, we studied the behavioral and molecular effects of a single systemic administration of ketamine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) on mechanical hypersensitivity and depressive-like consequences of chronic neuropathic pain. We showed that ketamine transiently alleviated mechanical hypersensitivity (lasting <24 h), while its antidepressant effect was observed even 72 h after administration. In addition, ketamine normalized the upregulated expression of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase 1 (MKP-1) and the downregulated phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of mice displaying neuropathic pain-induced depressive-like behaviors. This effect of ketamine on the MKP-1 was first detected 30 min after the ketamine administration and persisted until up to 72 h. Altogether, these findings provide insight into the behavioral and molecular changes associated with single ketamine administration in the comorbidity of chronic pain and depression.
Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2020 Jan;54(1):29-45. doi: 10.1177/0004867419883341. Epub 2019 Nov 15.
Ketamine for suicidal ideation in adults with psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of treatment trials.
Ketamine may reduce suicidal ideation in treatment-resistant depression. But it is not known how quickly this occurs and how long it persists. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the short- and long-term effectiveness of ketamine for suicidality.
CENTRAL, EMBASE, Medline, and PsycINFO were searched until 12 December 2018. Randomised controlled trials of ketamine or esketamine reporting data on suicidal ideation, self-harm, attempted or completed suicide in adults diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder were included. Two reviewers independently extracted data, and certainty of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation tool. Standardised mean difference was used for continuous outcomes.
Twenty-five reports from 15 independent trials, with a total of 572 participants diagnosed with predominately affective disorders, were included. The evidence was rated moderate to low. In most trials, ketamine was administered at 0.5 mg/kg via a single intravenous infusion over a 30- to 45-minute period. Only a single trial of intranasal esketamine was identified. At 4 hours post-infusion, treatment with ketamine was associated with a significant reduction in suicidal ideation scores (standardised mean difference = -0.51, 95% confidence interval = [-1.00, -0.03]), which persisted until 72 hours post-infusion (time points between 12 and 24 hours: standardised mean difference = -0.63, 95% confidence interval = [-0.99, -0.26]; between 24 and 72 hours: standardised mean difference = -0.57, 95% confidence interval = [-0.99, -0.14]), but not thereafter. However, there was marked heterogeneity of results. In a single trial of esketamine, marginal effects on suicidal ideation were observed. In terms of actual suicidal behaviour, there were virtually no data on effects of ketamine or esketamine.
A single infusion of ketamine may have a short-term (up to 72 hours) beneficial impact on suicidal thoughts. While confirmation of these results in further trials is needed, they suggest possible use of ketamine to treat acute suicidality. Means of sustaining any anti-suicidal effect need to be found.
Combination therapy utilizing ketamine and transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: a case report
In the present article, we report on the case of a 23-year-old woman with a history of treatment-resistant depression who achieved significant symptom improvement with a novel treatment consisting of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, and external neuromodulation with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This case highlights the need for further investigation of treatments pairing external neuromodulation with dissociative anesthetics.
Despite advances in pharmacological treatment, approximately half of patients fail to achieve full remission, prompting researchers to look beyond conventional antidepressant medications . Recent research has examined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS and its variant rTMS), in which an electromagnetic stimulator positioned at the scalp induces a change in local and distant electric field conditions and may cause an associated depolarization of neurons . When used to stimulate the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, rTMS has been associated with significant antidepressant effects , and is an FDA-approved treatment for depression. However, it is difficult to achieve remission with rTMS alone. A separate body of research has investigated intravenous ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist [4–8]. In contrast to typical antidepressant medications that take effect within several weeks, ketamine provides relief within 2 h and lasts between four and seven days, after which relapse is common [4,5]. To date, little is known about the possible synergistic effects of combined rTMS/ketamine treatment for depression.
One study found that a factor underlying treatment resistance in depression is abnormal function in a thalamocortical circuit involving the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), among other areas [9,11]. Accordingly, the first author hypothesized stimulating the ACC with TMS would restore normal functioning in the relevant circuit, thereby improving response to ketamine. We report on a depressed patient treated with a novel combined ketamine/TMS technique who showed substantial improvement in depression symptomatology at the end of treatment, and again at follow-up 483 days later. An IRB exemption was obtained from an independent accredited agency.
Case Report. Patient X is a 23-year-old woman who presented with a 9-year history of depression that did not respond to treatment with sertraline, buprorion, paroxetine, or stimulants. She also presented with attention deficit disorder that was treated with amphetamine from intake through follow-up. Her past history included diagnoses of anorexia nervosa and substance abuse (cocaine) that were in full remission at intake. Patient X was systematically assessed for psychopathology by an independent licensed psychologist at the outset of treatment. The primary assessment instruments were the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). PAI subscale scores greater than 70 indicate clinically significant difficulties. Results of this assessment suggested that Patient X exhibited moderate levels of depression (BDI-II = 17, PAI DEP T = 84) consisting predominantly of depressed mood (PAI DEP-A T = 83), low self-esteem (PAI DEP-C T = 87), and suicidal ideation (PAI SUI T = 62). In addition, the initial assessment suggested significant difficulties in developing and maintaining a sense of life purpose and self-identity (PAI BOR-I T = 80), problematic alcohol use (PAI ALC = 66), and concentration difficulties (PAI SCZ-T T = 73). After this comprehensive assessment, Patient X’s mood was assessed during each treatment by the first author using a visual analog scale. In this measure, Patient X indicated where her mood fell along a continuum from “the worst I can imagine feeling” to “the best I can imagine feeling.”
Prior to beginning combined treatment, Patient X was given 2 days of rTMS pretreatment (four treatments per day of 30 min with 45 min of rest between treatments). Combined ketamine/TMS treatment began the following day and continued at weekly intervals for 13 weeks. Fifteen years of observational evidence from our clinic suggested that this duration produced clinically significant results. Combined treatment consisted of 40 min of 1 Hz continuous TMS with an intravenous ketamine infusion administered concurrent to and bracketed within the middle 30 min of TMS, resulting in 5 min of TMS pre- and postinfusion. The dosage of infused ketamine increased gradually from 30 mg at the first treatment to 100 mg at the last treatment. During combined treatment, the TMS head coil (manufactured by Neotonus) was positioned at the midline of the scalp to achieve maximal stimulation of the medial prefrontal area that overlays the anterior cingulate, a region implicated in depression . While direct stimulation of the anterior cingulate is not likely given its subcortical position and the limited electromagnetic field penetration of TMS coils , we hypothesized that indirect stimulation of the anterior cingulate via TMS applied to the overlaying scalp region would result in a beneficial effect.
Baseline brain scans were used to ensure accurate coil positioning at each treatment. TMS treatments were administered at 115% of motor threshold at 1 Hz continuous pulsation given that these settings were within safety guidelines and consistent with previous research. Using this method, we hypothesized that the dissociative effects of ketamine along with TMS activation of the anterior cingulate would help reestablish normal oscillatory rhythms in this region, leading to a decrease in depression symptoms.
After the treatment on week three, Patient X reported a substantial improvement in mood and energy levels. Patient X noted that these gains were maintained over the duration of treatment with some fluctuation in mood due to relationship difficulties. Soon after the last combined treatment, Patient X reported a nondepressed mood with increased motivation and diminished attention difficulties. Combined treatment was followed by regular psychiatric visits 1–2× /month for 14 months. Gains were generally maintained over this span, with Patient X reporting that she was able to begin graduate studies and sustain an intimate relationship. Four hundred and eighty three days after her initial assessment, Patient X was again systematically assessed for psychopathology by an independent licensed psychologist. Results showed substantial decreases in depression (BDI-II = 0, PAI DEP T = 41), suicidal ideation (PAI SUI T = 45), alcohol use (PAI ALC T = 49), and concentration difficulties (PAI SCZ T = 49), along with increased sense of self-purpose (PAI BOR-I T = 56).
Discussion. This case report adds to the literature on improving the efficacy of brain electromagnetic stimulation by administering pharmacological agents that modulate glutamatergic transmission. Whereas previous research suggests that rTMS is somewhat effective in treating depression , and that subanesthetic doses of ketamine are temporarily helpful with depression [5–9]; the present case report is the first to suggest that a combined ketamine/rTMS treatment may be a more efficacious treatment for refractory depression than either infused ketamine or rTMS alone. Future research should examine combined ketamine/TMS treatment in a randomized controlled trial.
Declaration of Interest
Dr. Best reports no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Brian Griffin reports no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of this paper.
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Is Ketamine safe to use for depression during pregnancy?
The fast-acting nasal spray esketamine, marketed as SpravatoTM, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression in individuals whose depression has been resistant to at least two medications. Structurally, esketamine is an enantiomer, or mirror image, of ketamine and works by a similar mechanism.1 The antidepressant response is evident within a few days of administration, unlike traditional antidepressants that often take weeks for the patient to feel any improvement in mood. This is particularly advantageous for patients who have suicidal thoughts and need quick resolution of depression symptoms.
While an old anesthetic drug, this new formulation has yet to be explored extensively through clinical studies in the pregnant and breastfeeding population. Interestingly, animal studies conducted don’t seem to produce promising results. A new study conducted in 2017 found that offspring of pregnant rats treated with ketamine had impaired learning and memory.2 Another study found that offspring of rats treated with ketamine during the second trimester had long-term neurocognitive dysfunction.3 A study in 2016 found that ketamine exposure during pregnancy in rats resulted in reduced development of certain brain regions in the offspring.4 Thus, at this time, ketamine’s effects in pregnancy are concerning and it is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Although the FDA has not assigned a pregnancy category to esketamine, the pharmaceutical provider suggests that SpravatoTM may cause fetal toxicity and should be avoided in pregnant and breastfeeding women.5
This is not to say that women shouldn’t seek treatment for depression during pregnancy, however. It is instead recommended that pregnant or potentially soon-to-be pregnant women turn to older antidepressants, such as select serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The more popular antidepressants used during pregnancy include sertraline, escitalopram, or fluoxetine.6 Paroxetine has been associated with an increased risk of cardiac defects in exposed infants with exposure in the 1st trimester.6 Bupropion is another alternative treatment for depression in pregnant mothers. Treatment should be initiated on a case-by-case basis depending on severity of symptoms and personal history. All of these aspects should be discussed with a physician before initiating therapy. Medication changes should ideally be made prior to pregnancy.6
Common antidepressants in pregnancy:
|Bupropion||Animal studies revealed no evidence of harm6|
|Citalopram||Possible SSRI withdrawal syndrome6|
|Esketamine||New to the market|
|Escitalopram||Possible SSRI withdrawal syndrome6|
|Fluoxetine||Possible SSRI withdrawal syndrome6|
|Paroxetine||Studies in pregnant women suggested some risk to fetus6|
- Esketamine has not been studied extensively in pregnant women, but has shown negative effects on exposed offspring in rats.
- Esketamine is not currently recommended for pregnant women.
- Other antidepressants, such as an SSRI or bupropion, should be considered for depression in pregnancy.
- Medication changes should ideally be made before pregnancy and should be initiated on case-by-case basis with individualized treatment.
- An appropriate dose for an adult is 56 mg (2 sprays total intranasally) administered on day 1 of treatment, then 56-84 mg (2-3 sprays total) twice weekly for 4 weeks.5
- It is important to remember that untreated depression during pregnancy is very risky and mothers should seek treatment for depression during pregnancy.
Erika Anderson MS4
Thomas W. Hale, Ph.D.
Teresa Baker MD
- Paddock, Catharine. “The FDA Approve Esketamine Nasal Spray for Severe Depression.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 8 Mar. 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324656.php.
- Li, Xinran, et al. “Ketamine Administered Pregnant Rats Impair Learning and Memory in Offspring via the CREB Pathway.” Oncotarget, vol. 8, no. 20, 2017, doi:10.18632/oncotarget.15405.
- Li, Yanan, et al. “Long-Term Neurocognitive Dysfunction in Offspring via NGF/ ERK/CREB Signaling Pathway Caused by Ketamine Exposure during the Second Trimester of Pregnancy in Rats.” Oncotarget, vol. 8, no. 19, 2017, doi:10.18632/oncotarget.16042.
- Dong, C., et al. “Ketamine Exposure during Embryogenesis Inhibits Cellular Proliferation in Rat Fetal Cortical Neurogenic Regions.” Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, vol. 60, no. 5, 2016, pp. 579–587., doi:10.1111/aas.12689.
- “SPRAVATO™ Treatment Center.” Spravato Esketomine, www.spravatotreatmentcenter.com/.
- Payne, Jennifer L., and Samantha Meltzer-Brody. “Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy: Current Controversies and Treatment Strategies.” Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 52, no. 3, 2009, pp. 469–482., doi:10.1097/grf.0b013e3181b52e20.
Comparing the Effectiveness of Neurofeedback and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Sleep Quality of Patients With Migraine
1- Mousavi Hospital, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.
2- Department of Clinical Psychology, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.
3- Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Vali Asr Hospital, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.
4- Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.
Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, 2020
Introduction: Migraine is considered one of the most common primary headache disorders. Migraine attacks may occur due to a lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleep is regarded as one of the smoothing factors of migraine pain. Patients with sleep disorders often suffer from headaches when they wake up compared with healthy individuals.
Methods: This research was a quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest design and a 2-month follow-up. The samples included 20 migraine patients within the age range of 15 to 55 years who were selected as volunteers for treatment by the neurologists and psychiatrists during 2017. The initial evaluation was then conducted based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria and using the Ahvaz migraine questionnaire, and Pittsburgh sleep quality index. The patients were randomly assigned to two neurofeedback (n=10) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) (n=10) groups and evaluated three times. The obtained data were analyzed by the repeated measures ANCOVA and Chi-square test in SPSS.
Results: Based on the scores of both groups, no significant difference was observed between neurofeedback and tDCS groups. However, based on the results, neurofeedback decreased sleep latency, whereas tDCS increased sleep efficiency. Overall, these two treatments were effective in improving subjective sleep quality and sleep quality.
Conclusion: Both neurofeedback and tDCS treatments could significantly enhance sleep quality of the patients in the posttest and 2-month follow-up. Given the effectiveness of both treatments, neurofeedback and tDCS are recommended to be used for improving the sleep status of patients with migraine.
Healing the Neurophysiological Roots of Trauma: A Controlled Study Examining LORETA Z-Score Neurofeedback and HRV Biofeedback for Chronic PTSD
- Ashlie N. Bell, PhDSaybrook University / NeuroGrove, P.C. / Integrative Neurotherapy Center of Colorado
- Donald Moss, PhDSaybrook University
- Robert J. Kallmeyer, PhDSaybrook University
Introduction: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to abnormalities within three neural networks: default mode (DMN), salience (SN), and central executive (CEN). This study examined the effectiveness of LORETA z-score neurofeedback (LZNF) training for altering current source within these networks and reducing symptoms associated with PTSD. Methods: Twenty-three adults with chronic PTSD were randomly assigned to 15 sessions of either LZNF (n = 12) or heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB; n = 11). Psychosocial and physiological assessments were completed at baseline and postintervention. Results: The LZNF group showed very large, statistically significant decreases in symptoms on the PTSD Checklist for DSM-V (PCL-5; p = .003, d = 2.09) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; p = .003, d = 2.13). The HRVB group also showed very large decreases on the PCL-5 (p = .006, d = 1.40) and medium effects on the BAI (p = .018, d = 0.76). Between-group comparisons showed medium to large effects of group type in favor of LZNF (PCL-5 d = 0.57; BAI d = 0.94), although not statistically significant. LZNF Responders (n = 9) demonstrated very large, statistically significant decreases in abnormal z-scores within all targeted networks (DMN p = .012, d = 0.96; SN p = .008, d = 1.32; CEN p = .008, d = 1.33). Conclusion: The positive outcomes of this study provide preliminary evidence to support LZNF training as a specific, effective, and tolerable intervention for adults with chronic PTSD.
Neurofeedback and Attention‐Deficit/Hyperactivity‐Disorder (ADHD) in Children: Rating the Evidence and Proposed Guidelines
Martijn Arns · C. Richard Clark · Mark Trullinger · Roger deBeus · Martha Mack · Michelle Aniftos
© The Author(s) 2020
Stimulant medication and behaviour therapy are the most often applied and accepted treatments for Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD). Here we explore where the non-pharmacological clinical intervention known as neuro- feedback (NFB), fits on the continuum of empirically supported treatments, using standard protocols. In this quantitative review we utilized an updated and stricter version of the APA guidelines for rating ‘well-established’ treatments and focused on efficacy and effectiveness using effect-sizes (ES) and remission, with a focus on long-term effects. Efficacy and effec- tiveness are compared to medication and behaviour therapy using benchmark studies. Only recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses as well as multi-centre randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) will be included. Two meta-analyses confirmed significant efficacy of standard neurofeedback protocols for parent and teacher rated symptoms with a medium effect size, and sustained effects after 6–12 months. Four multicenter RCT’s demonstrated significant superiority to semi-active control groups, with medium-large effect sizes end of treatment or follow-up and remission rates of 32–47%. Effectiveness in open- label studies was confirmed, no signs of publication bias were found and no significant neurofeedback-specific side effects have been reported. Standard neurofeedback protocols in the treatment of ADHD can be concluded to be a well-established treatment with medium to large effect sizes and 32–47% remission rates and sustained effects as assessed after 6–12 months.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
Amin et al. The Egyptian Journal of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery (2020) 56:19
The Egyptian Journal of Neurology, https://doi.org/10.1186/s41983-019-0140-5 Psychiatry and Neurosurgery
The role of left prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation in episodic migraine prophylaxis
Randa Amin1, Tamer Emara1*, Samia Ashour1, Mahmoud Hemeda1, Nahed Salah Eldin1, Salma Hamed1, Sara Shouman2 and Mohamed Shouman3
Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the prophylactic role of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on the frequency, and severity of migraine attacks in episodic migraineurs who failed medical treatment.
Methods: A randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled study was designed to assess the effect of 5 Hz rTMS applied over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (LDLPFC ) in 33 migraineurs. Patients were followed up for 1 month before receiving rTMS, and for another month after the sessions by a headache diary. The primary outcome measure was the achievement of 50% reduction in the number of migraine attacks. Secondary outcome measures included migraine days, assessment of migraine attack severity, disability by HIT-6, and side-effects to the procedure.
Results: The study revealed that 69.2% of the active treatment group achieved 50% or more reduction in the number of migraine attacks versus 25% of cases in the control group (p = 0.02). The absolute number of migraine attacks was reduced by 3.1 vs 1.5 in the active and control group, respectively. The number of cases with severe HIT-6 scores was reduced by 46.2% in active treatment group versus a 7.1% reduction in the control group (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: High-frequency rTMS applied to LDLPFC can reduce the number of migraine attacks by 50% or more in almost 70% of a sample of episodic migraineurs with a concomitant decrease in functional disability.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT04031781. Registered 23 July 2019—retrospectively registered at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04031781?term=Migraine+Prophylaxis&recrs=ce&type=Intr&cond=Migraine&rank=9
A systematic review and meta-analysis of rTMS effects on cognitive enhancement in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique, has emerged as a promising treatment for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Currently, however, the effectiveness of this therapy is unclear because of the low statistical power and heterogeneity of previous trials. The purpose of the meta-analysis was to systematically characterize the effectiveness of various combinations of rTMS parameters on different cognitive domains in patients with MCI and AD. Thirteen studies comprising 293 patients with MCI or AD were included in this analysis. Random-effects analysis revealed an overall medium-to-large effect size (0.77) favoring active rTMS over sham rTMS in the improvement of cognitive functions. Subgroup analyses revealed that (1) high-frequency rTMS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and low-frequency rTMS at the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex significantly improved memory functions; (2) high-frequency rTMS targeting the right inferior frontal gyrus significantly enhanced executive performance; and (3) the effects of 5–30 consecutive rTMS sessions could last for 4–12 weeks. Potential mechanisms of rTMS effects on cognitive functions are discussed.
Jean-Pascal Lefaucheur et al (2020)
Evidence-based guidelines on the therapeutic use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
A group of European experts reappraised the guidelines on the therapeutic efficacy of repetitive transcra- nial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) previously published in 2014 [Lefaucheur et al., Clin Neurophysiol 2014;125:2150–206]. These updated recommendations take into account all rTMS publications, includ- ing data prior to 2014, as well as currently reviewed literature until the end of 2018. Level A evidence (definite efficacy) was reached for: high-frequency (HF) rTMS of the primary motor cortex (M1) contralat- eral to the painful side for neuropathic pain; HF-rTMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) using a figure-of-8 or a H1-coil for depression; low-frequency (LF) rTMS of contralesional M1 for hand motor recovery in the post-acute stage of stroke. Level B evidence (probable efficacy) was reached for: HF-rTMS of the left M1 or DLPFC for improving quality of life or pain, respectively, in fibromyalgia; HF-rTMS of bilateral M1 regions or the left DLPFC for improving motor impairment or depression, respec- tively, in Parkinson’s disease; HF-rTMS of ipsilesional M1 for promoting motor recovery at the post-acute stage of stroke; intermittent theta burst stimulation targeted to the leg motor cortex for lower limb spas- ticity in multiple sclerosis; HF-rTMS of the right DLPFC in posttraumatic stress disorder; LF-rTMS of the right inferior frontal gyrus in chronic post-stroke non-fluent aphasia; LF-rTMS of the right DLPFC in depression; and bihemispheric stimulation of the DLPFC combining right-sided LF-rTMS (or continuous theta burst stimulation) and left-sided HF-rTMS (or intermittent theta burst stimulation) in depression. Level A/B evidence is not reached concerning efficacy of rTMS in any other condition. The current recom- mendations are based on the differences reached in therapeutic efficacy of real vs. sham rTMS protocols, replicated in a sufficient number of independent studies. This does not mean that the benefit produced by rTMS inevitably reaches a level of clinical relevance.
! 2019 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Arch Womens Ment Health. 2014 Aug;17(4):311-5. doi: 10.1007/s00737-013-0397-0. Epub 2013 Nov 20.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation during pregnancy
The aim of the present study was to assess the safety and effectiveness of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in pregnant patients with depression. Thirty depressed pregnant patients received rTMS over the left prefrontal cortex for 6 days in a week, from Monday to Saturday for 3 weeks. The rTMS intensity was set at 100% of the motor threshold. A 25-Hz stimulation with a duration of 2 s was delivered 20 times with 30-s intervals. A session comprised 1,000 magnetic pulses. Depression was rated using the 17-item Hamilton depression rating scale (HAMD) before and after treatment. Response was defined as a 50% reduction of the HAMD score. Patients with HAMD scores less than 8 were considered to be in remission. The mean HAMD score for the study group decreased from 26.77 ± 5.58 to 13.03 ± 6.93 (p < 0.001) after 18 sessions of rTMS. After the treatment period, 41.4% of the study group demonstrated significant mood improvements as indexed by a reduction of more than 50% on the HAMD score. In addition, 20.7% attained remission (HAMD score < 8), 34.5% achieved a partial response, and 3.4% had worsening in HAMD scores at the end of treatment. Treatment was well tolerated, and no significant adverse effects were reported. rTMS was well tolerated and found to be statistically and clinically effective in pregnant patients with treatment-resistant depression. This study contributed to the existing evidence of the antidepressant effect of rTMS in the treatment of depression in pregnancy.
rTMS and pregnancy
Nervenheilkunde 2020; 39(04): 213-221
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York
Transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of depression during pregnancy – A review
Tobias Hebel, Martin Schecklmann, Berthold Langguth
Objective In this review, efficacy and safety of rTMS for the treatment of depressed pregnant patients shall be evaluated.
Material and methods A Pubmed database research was performed to identify and analyze original research and review articles relevant to the objective.
Results In addition to a number of case series, three controlled studies have been published on the treatment of depressed pregnant women with rTMS. Data indicates that rTMS seems to be safe for the pregnant patients and also their unborn children. No adverse postnatal effects on the offspring’s development have been reported.
Conclusion rTMS is a promising treatment option. Further studies with more participants are warranted to clarify the role of rTMS in a multimodal treatment of depression in pregnancy.
Virtual reality therapy
Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders
Der Nervenarzt volume 89, pages1227–1231(2018)
Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders in Germany. Exposure therapy has proven effective in treating anxiety disorders. During exposure therapy, patients are systematically confronted with the feared stimulus or situation. Exposure therapy can be conducted in vivo or in sensu. Recently, a considerable amount of research on virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) in the treatment of anxiety disorders—especially phobias—has been published. During virtual reality exposure therapy, patients are confronted with a virtual representation of the feared stimulus or situation. There are many studies showing that virtual reality exposure therapy is effective—especially in treating specific phobias. One major advantage of virtual reality exposure therapy is that therapists can easily control the feared object or situation. Furthermore, virtual reality exposure therapy requires less organizational effort and is less time-consuming than exposure therapy in vivo. The principal disadvantage of virtual reality exposure therapy is the danger of cyber sickness. With the development of affordable user-friendly systems, therapists may increasingly use virtual reality exposure therapy to treat patients suffering from anxiety disorders. With respect to the future development of virtual reality exposure therapy, augmented reality seems to be a promising treatment alternative. Future studies need to confirm the efficacy of augmented reality exposure therapy in treating anxiety disorders.
Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie (2017), 46, pp. 236-247. https://doi.org/10.1026/1616-3443/a000444. © 2017 Hogrefe Verlag.
Social Skills Training in Virtual Reality for Social Anxiety: Validation of Relevant Interaction Situations
Institut für Psychologie, Lehrstuhl für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, Universität Regensburg
Institut für Psychologie, Lehrstuhl für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, Universität Regensburg
kbo-Inn-Salzach-Klinikum, Wasserburg am Inn
kbo-Inn-Salzach-Klinikum, Wasserburg am Inn
Lehrstuhl für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universitätsklinikum Münster
Institut für Psychologie, Lehrstuhl für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, Universität Regensburg
Published online: April 10, 2018
Social Skills Training in Virtual Reality for Social Anxiety: Validation of Relevant Interaction Situations
Background: Social skills training is an important tool in psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder. The implementation of virtual reality (VR) could increase its availability and effectiveness, but there is a need for validated VR scenarios. Objective: We examined the validity of two VR scenarios according to the group training of social skills by Hinsch and Pfingsten (2015). We hypothesize that the subjective, psychophysiological, and cognitive components of social anxiety triggered by the scenario significantly differentiate between higher (HSA) and lower (NSA) socially anxious persons. Method: A sample of N = 55 HSA and NSA students underwent two VR scenarios for the training of assertiveness. Additionally, the duration of eye contact by the virtual interaction partner was varied experimentally. The main outcome measure was experienced anxiety. In addition, heart rate, electrodermal activity, as well as the assessment of own’s own competence were recorded. Results: In both scenarios, HSA compared with NSA reported significantly higher anxiety as well as negative distortions regarding the assessment of one’s own competency. With regard to physiology, there was activation but no differentiation between groups. Both VR scenarios were perceived as realistic. Conclusion: Virtual interaction scenarios can be used for training purposes, and social skills training in VR has great potential as a psychotherapeutic intervention for social anxiety disorder.
Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
Feasibility and Efficacy of the Addition of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback to a Remote Digital Health Intervention for Depression
Marcos Economides · Paul Lehrer · Kristian Ranta · Albert Nazander · Outi Hilgert · Anu Raevuori · Richard Gevirtz · Inna Khazan · Valerie L. Forman‐Hoffman
© The Author(s) 2020
A rise in the prevalence of depression underscores the need for accessible and effective interventions. The objectives of this study were to determine if the addition of a treatment component showing promise in treating depression, heart rate variability-biofeedback (HRV-B), to our original smartphone-based, 8-week digital intervention was feasible and whether patients in the HRV-B (“enhanced”) intervention were more likely to experience clinically significant improvements in depressive symptoms than patients in our original (“standard”) intervention. We used a quasi-experimental, non-equivalent (matched) groups design to compare changes in symptoms of depression in the enhanced group (n = 48) to historical out- come data from the standard group (n = 48). Patients in the enhanced group completed a total average of 3.86 h of HRV-B practice across 25.8 sessions, and were more likely to report a clinically significant improvement in depressive symptom score post-intervention than participants in the standard group, even after adjusting for differences in demographics and engagement between groups (adjusted OR 3.44, 95% CI [1.28–9.26], P = .015). Our findings suggest that adding HRV-B to an app-based, smartphone-delivered, remote intervention for depression is feasible and may enhance treatment outcomes.
Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2019 Mar; 17(2): 222–232.
Published online 2019 Apr 30. doi: 10.9758/cpn.2019.17.2.222
Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Increased Autonomic Activation and Improved Symptoms of Depression and Insomnia among Patients with Major Depression Disorder
I-Mei Lin,1,* Sheng-Yu Fan,,* Cheng-Fang Yen, Yi-Chun Yeh, Tze-Chun Tang, Mei-Feng Huang, Tai-Ling Liu, Peng-Wei Wang, Huang-Chi Lin, Hsin-Yi Tsai, and Yu-Che Tsai” src=”blob:https://www.psychosomatik.com/61724f14-b840-4c3c-bf1c-de47cbec0d0e” alt=”corresponding author” border=”0″ class=”Apple-web-attachment Singleton” style=”width: 0.0729in; height: 0.0937in; opacity: 1;”>
Autonomic imbalance is considered a psychopathological mechanism underlying major depressive disorder (MDD). Heart rate variability (HRV) is an index for autonomic activation. Poor sleep quality is common among patients with MDD. HRV biofeedback (BF) has been used for regulating autonomic balance among patients with physical illness and mental disorders. The purpose of present study was to examine the effects of HRV-BF on depressive symptoms, sleep quality, pre-sleep arousal, and HRV indices, in patients with MDD and insomnia.
In this case-controlled study, patients with MDD and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score higher than 6 were recruited. The HRV-BF group received weekly 60-minute protocol for 6 weeks, and the control group who have matched the age and sex received medical care only. All participants were assessed on Beck Depression Inventory-II, Back Anxiety Inventory, PSQI, and Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale. Breathing rates and electrocardiography were also performed under resting state at pre-testing, and post-testing conditions and for the HRV-BF group, also at 1-month follow-up.
In the HRV-BF group, symptoms of depression and anxiety, sleep quality, and pre-sleep arousal were significantly improved, and increased HRV indices, compared with the control group. Moreover, in the HRV-BF group, significantly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety, decreased breathing rates, and increased HRV indices were detected at post-testing and at 1-month follow-up, compared with pre-testing values.
Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Improves Emotional and Physical Health and Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis
- Paul Lehrer,
- Karenjot Kaur,
- Agratta Sharma,
- Khushbu Shah,
- Robert Huseby,
- Jay Bhavsar &
- Yingting Zhang
We performed a systematic and meta analytic review of heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) for various symptoms and human functioning. We analyzed all problems addressed by HRVB and all outcome measures in all studies, whether or not relevant to the studied population, among randomly controlled studies. Targets included various biological and psychological problems and issues with athletic, cognitive, and artistic performance. Our initial review yielded 1868 papers, from which 58 met inclusion criteria. A significant small to moderate effect size was found favoring HRVB, which does not differ from that of other effective treatments. With a small number of studies for each, HRVB has the largest effect sizes for anxiety, depression, anger and athletic/artistic performance and the smallest effect sizes on PTSD, sleep and quality of life. We found no significant differences for number of treatment sessions or weeks between pretest and post-test, whether the outcome measure was targeted to the population, or year of publication. Effect sizes are larger in comparison to inactive than active control conditions although significant for both. HRVB improves symptoms and and functioning in many areas, both in the normal and pathological ranges. It appears useful as a complementary treatment. Further research is needed to confirm its efficacy for particular applications.
Transcranial direct current simulation (tDCS)
Therapeutic Role of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Alzheimer Disease Patients: Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
Eman M. Khedr, MD, Ragaa H. Salama, MD, Mohamed Abdel Hameed, MD, …
First Published April 3, 2019
Objective. To explore the neuropsychological effects and levels of tau protein (TAU), amyloid β 1-42 (Aβ 1-42), and lipid peroxidase after 10 sessions of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD). Patients and methods. A total of 46 consecutive patients with probable AD participated in this study. They were classified randomly into 2 equal groups: active versus sham. Each patient received 10 sessions of anodal tDCS over the left and right temporoparietal region for 20 minutes for each side with the cathode on the left arm. Patients were assessed using the Modified Mini Mental State Examination (MMMSE), clock drawing test, Montreal Cognitive Scale (MoCA), and the Cornell Scale for depression. Serum TAU, Aβ 1-42, and lipid peroxidase were measured before and after the 10th session. Results. There was a significant improvement in the total score of each cognitive rating scale (MMMSE, clock drawing test, and MoCA) in the real group, whereas no such change was observed in the sham group. The Cornell depression score improved significantly in both groups. There was a significant increase in serum Aβ 1-42 (P = .02) in the real but not in the sham group, with a significant Treatment condition × Time interaction (P = .009). There was no significant effect on tau or lipid peroxidase in either group but a significant positive correlation between changes of Aβ1-42 and MMMSE (P = .005) and MoCA (P= .02). Conclusion. The observed cognitive improvements were complemented by parallel changes in serum levels of Aβ 1-42.
A systematic review and meta‐analysis on the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation in depressive episodes
First published: 26 February 2020
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown mixed results for depression treatment.
To perform a systematic review and meta‐analysis of trials using tDCS to improve depressive symptoms.
A systematic review was performed from the first date available to January 06, 2020 in PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and additional sources. We included randomized, sham‐controlled clinical trials (RCTs) enrolling participants with an acute depressive episode and compared the efficacy of active versus sham tDCS, including association with other interventions. The primary outcome was the Hedges’ g for continuous depression scores; secondary outcomes included odds ratios (ORs) and number needed to treat (NNT) for response, remission, and acceptability. Random effects models were employed. Sources of heterogeneity were explored via metaregression, sensitivity analyses, subgroup analyses, and bias assessment.
We included 23 RCTs (25 datasets, 1,092 participants), most (57%) presenting a low risk of bias. Active tDCS was superior to sham regarding endpoint depression scores (k = 25, g = 0.46, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.22–0.70), and also achieved superior response (k = 18, 33.3% vs. 16.56%, OR = 2.28 [1.52–3.42], NNT = 6) and remission (k = 18, 19.12% vs. 9.78%, OR = 2.12 [1.42–3.16], NNT = 10.7) rates. Moreover, active tDCS was as acceptable as sham. No risk of publication bias was identified. Cumulative meta‐analysis showed that effect sizes are basically unchanged since total sample reached 439 participants.
TDCS is modestly effective in treating depressive episodes. Further well‐designed, large‐scale RCTs are warranted.
Volumes 17–18, November–December 2019, Pages 17-22
A review of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for the individualized treatment of depressive symptoms
- TDCS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex can reduce depressive symptoms.
- TDCS may be less suited for treatment-resistant depression.
- Combining tDCS with pharmaco- or psychotherapies may enhance therapeutic outcomes.
- Optimizing tDCS parameters to individual patients can improve physiological response.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a low intensity neuromodulation technique shown to elicit therapeutic effects in a number of neuropsychological conditions. Independent randomized sham-controlled trials and meta- and mega-analyses demonstrate that tDCS targeted to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex can produce a clinically meaningful response in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), but effects are small to moderate in size. However, the heterogeneous presentation, and the neurobiology underlying particular features of depression suggest clinical outcomes might benefit from empirically informed patient selection. In this review, we summarize the status of tDCS research in MDD with focus on the clinical, biological, and intrinsic and extrinsic factors shown to enhance or predict antidepressant response. We also discuss research strategies for optimizing tDCS to improve patient-specific clinical outcomes. TDCS appears suited for both bipolar and unipolar depression, but is less effective in treatment resistant depression. TDCS may also better target core aspects of depressed mood over vegetative symptoms, while pretreatment patient characteristics might inform subsequent response. Peripheral blood markers of gene and immune system function have not yet proven useful as predictors or correlates of tDCS response. Though further research is needed, several lines of evidence suggest that tDCS administered in combination with pharmacological and cognitive behavioral interventions can improve outcomes. Tailoring stimulation to the functional and structural anatomy and/or connectivity of individual patients can maximize physiological response in targeted networks, which in turn could translate to therapeutic benefits.
25 years of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): The EMDR therapy protocol, hypotheses of its mechanism of action and a systematic review of its efficacy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
Patricia Novo Navarroa,b,c, Ramón Landin-Romerod,e,f,g, Rocio Guardiola-Wanden-Bergheb,c, Ana Moreno-Alcázarc,d, Alicia Valiente-Gómezc,d, Walter Lupoh, Francisca Garcíai, Isabel Fernándezj, Víctor Pérezb,c
y Benedikt L. Amannc,d,∗
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new psychot- herapy that has gradually gained popularity for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. In the present work, the standardised EMDR protocol is introduced, along with current hypot- heses of its mechanism of action, as well as a critical review of the available literature on its clinical effectiveness in adult post-traumatic stress disorder. A systematic review of the published literature was performed using PubMed and PsycINFO databases with the keywords «eye movement desensitization and reprocessing» and «post-traumatic stress disorder» and its abbreviations «EMDR» and «PTSD». Fifteen randomised controlled trials of good methodologi- cal quality were selected. These studies compared EMDR with unspecific interventions, waiting lists, or specific therapies. Overall, the results of these studies suggest that EMDR is a useful, evidence-based tool for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, in line with recent recommendations from different international health organisations.
© 2016 SEP y SEPB. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.
The Status of EMDR Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 30 Years After Its Introduction
- de Jongh, Ad
- Amann, Benedikt L.
- Hofmann, Arne
- Farrell, Derek
- Lee, Christopher W.
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research
Vol 13Issue 4
Given that 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, the purpose of this article is to summarize the current empirical evidence in support of EMDR therapy as an effective treatment intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Currently, there are more than 30 randomized controlled trials (RCT) demonstrating the effectiveness in patients with this debilitating mental health condition, thus providing a robust evidence base for EMDR therapy as a first-choice treatment for PTSD. Results from several meta-analyses further suggest that EMDR therapy is equally effective as its most important trauma-focused comparator, that is, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, albeit there are indications from some studies that EMDR therapy might be more efficient and cost-effective. There is emerging evidence showing that EMDR treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders, such as psychosis, in which PTSD is comorbid, is also safe, effective, and efficacious. In addition to future well-crafted RCTs in areas such as combat-related PTSD and psychiatric disorders with comorbid PTSD, RCTs with PTSD as the primary diagnosis remain pivotal in further demonstrating EMDR therapy as a robust treatment intervention.
EMDR Therapy’s Efficacy in the Treatment of Pain
- Tesarz, Jonas
- Wicking, Manon
- Bernardy, Kathrin
- Seidler, Günter H.
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research Vol 13 Issue 4 DOI:
Chronic pain is the most common global cause of functional and quality of life limitations. Although there are many effective therapies for the treatment of acute pain, chronic pain is often unsatisfactory. Against this background, there is currently an urgent need to develop innovative therapies that enable more efficient pain relief. Psychosocial factors play an important role in the development and persistence of chronic pain. Especially in patients with high levels of emotional stress, significant anxiety, or relevant psychological comorbidity, classical pain therapy approaches often fail. This is in line with the results of recent pain research, which has shown that dysfunctions in emotion processing have a significant influence on the persistence of pain symptoms. The recognition that pain can become chronic through maladaptive emotional processing forms the pathophysiological basis for the application of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of chronic pain. In this sense, EMDR can be used as an established method for desensitizing and processing of emotional distress from trauma therapy specifically for processing emotional stress in patients with chronic pain. Against this background, it is not surprising that the implementation of EMDR for patients with chronic pain is expanding. However, the increasing clinical use of EMDR in the treatment of chronic pain has also led to a reputation to test the efficacy of EMDR in pain management through randomized clinical trials. In addition to numerous case control studies, there are now also six randomized controlled clinical trials available that demonstrate the efficacy and safety of EMDR in the treatment of different pain conditions. However, in order to overcome several methodological limitations, large multicenter studies are needed to confirm the results.
Desensitizing addiction: Using eye Movements to reduce the intensity of substance-related Mental imagery and craving
Marianne Littel* , Marcel A. van den Hout and Iris M. Engelhard
Clinical Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. During this treatment, patients recall traumatic memo- ries while making horizontal eye movements (EM). Studies have shown that EM not only desensitize negative memories but also positive memories and imagined events. Substance use behavior and craving are maintained by maladaptive memory associa- tions and visual imagery. Preliminary findings have indicated that these mental images can be desensitized by EMDR techniques. We conducted two proof-of-principle studies to investigate whether EM can reduce the sensory richness of substance-related mental representations and accompanying craving levels. We investigated the effects of EM on (1) vividness of food-related mental imagery and food craving in dieting and non-dieting students and (2) vividness of recent smoking-related memories and cigarette craving in daily smokers. In both experiments, participants recalled the images while making EM or keeping eyes stationary. Image vividness and emotionality, image-specific craving and general craving were measured before and after the intervention. As a behavioral outcome measure, participants in study 1 were offered a snack choice at the end of the experiment. Results of both experiments showed that image vividness and crav- ing increased in the control condition but remained stable or decreased after the EM intervention. EM additionally reduced image emotionality (experiment 2) and affected behavior (experiment 1): participants in the EM condition were more inclined to choose healthy over unhealthy snack options. In conclusion, these data suggest that EM can be used to reduce intensity of substance-related imagery and craving. Although long-term effects are yet to be demonstrated, the current studies suggest that EM might be a useful technique in addiction treatment.
Front. Psychiatry 7:14. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00014
Desensitization of Triggers and Urge Reprocessing for Pathological Gambling: A Case Series
Hwallip Bae • Changwoo Han • Daeho Kim
Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
Abstract This case series introduces the desensitization of triggers and urge reprocessing (DeTUR), as a promising adjunctive therapy in addition to comprehensive treatment package for pathological gambling. This addiction protocol of eye movement desensiti- zation and reprocessing was delivered to four male inpatients admitted to a 10-week inpatient program for pathological gambling. The therapist gave three 60-min weekly sessions of the DeTUR using bilateral stimulation (horizontal eye movements or alterna- tive tactile stimuli) focusing on the hierarchy of triggering situations and the urge to initiate gambling behaviors. After treatment, self-reported gambling symptoms, depression, anx- iety, and impulsiveness were all improved, and all the participants reported satisfaction with the therapy. They were followed up for 6 months and all maintained their abstinence from gambling and their symptomatic improvements. Given the efficiency (i.e., brevity and efficacy) of the treatment, a controlled study to confirm the effects of the DeTUR on pathological gambling would be justified.
Open Access Original
Article DOI: 10.7759/cureus.3250
Received 08/27/2018 Review began 08/31/2018 Review ended 08/31/2018 Published 09/04/2018
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy versus Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in Patients with Post- traumatic Stress Disorder: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Ali M. Khan 1 , Sabrina Dar 2 , Rizwan Ahmed 3 , Ramya Bachu 4 , Mahwish Adnan 5 , Vijaya Padma Kotapati 6
1. Psychiatry Resident, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen, Texas, USA 2. Psychiatry, Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA 3. Psychiatry, Liaquat College, Karachi, PAK 4. Psychiatry, Northwell Zucker Hillside Hospital, New York, USA 5. Center for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, CAN 6. Psychiatry, Manhattan Psychiatric Center, New York, USA
Corresponding author: Vijaya Padma Kotapati, email@example.com Disclosures can be found in Additional Information at the end of the article
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in children, adolescents and adults. It can occur alone or in comorbidity with other disorders. A broad range of psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) have been developed for the treatment of PTSD.
Through quantitative meta-analysis, we aimed to compare the efficacy of CBT and EMDR: (i) relieving the post-traumatic symptoms, and (ii) alleviating anxiety and depression, in patients with PTSD.
We systematically searched EMBASE, Medline and Cochrane central register of controlled trials (CENTRAL) for articles published between 1999 and December 2017. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compare CBT and EMDR in PTSD patients were included for quantitative meta- analysis using RevMan Version 5.
Fourteen studies out of 714 were finally eligible. Meta-analysis of 11 studies (n = 547) showed that EMDR is better than CBT in reducing post-traumatic symptoms [SDM (95% CI) = -0.43 (- 0.73 – -0.12), p = 0.006]. However, meta-analysis of four studies (n = 186) at three-
month follow-up revealed no statistically significant difference [SDM (95% CI) = -0.21 (-0.50 – 0.08), p = 0.15]. The EMDR was also better than CBT in reducing anxiety [SDM (95% CI) = -0.71 (-1.21 – -0.21), p =0.005]. Unfortunately, there was no difference between CBT and EMDR in reducing depression [SDM (95% CI) = -0.21 (-0.44 – 0.02), p = 0.08].
The results of this meta-analysis suggested that EMDR is better than CBT in reducing post- traumatic symptoms and anxiety. However, there was no difference reported in reducing depression. Large population randomized trials with longer follow-up are recommended to build conclusive evidence.
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