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Major depression may result from decreased left frontal lobe
function with respect to the right. Fast frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (FF r-TMS) excites the underlying cortex whereas slow frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (SF r-TMS) causes cortical inhibition. Left frontal FF
r-TMS attenuates major depression whereas the inhibitory effects of
right frontal SF r-TMS are unknown. This study tested the hypothesis that right frontal SF r-TMS would treat depressed patients with minimal
effect on controls.
A psychiatrist administered the Beck depression inventory and Hamilton D depression rating scales to eight depressed patients and six controls before and after the treatment protocol. Eight sessions of 100 right frontal lobe SF r-TMS were given at motor threshold and 0.5 Hz over a 6 week period. No adverse outcomes were noted in either group. A significant antidepressant effect was noted in depressed patients on the Beck and Hamilton D depression rating scales (p<0.05). No change on either scale was noted in the controls. In conclusion right frontal lobe SF r-TMS is a safe, non-invasive treatment for major depression that deserves further investigation.