Another study by Matt et al. (Medical University of Vienna, University Department of Neurology) published in February 2022 now presented a detailed sub-analysis of possible anti-depressive effects of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS®) with the NEUROLITH® system based on neuropsychological and functional imaging data.2
In Alzheimer’s patients, depression is a major and particularly problematic comorbidity. Therapeutic effects of anti-depressive medication are often limited and novel therapeutic approaches that may work as add-on therapy are urgently needed. Data from a first clinical trial of patients with AD receiving 2-4 weeks of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS®) have already shown memory and cognitive improvements for up to 3 months.1 In addition, improvements in depression scores were also reported. In a new study, the same study group (Medical University of Vienna/Department of Neurology) now presents a detailed sub-analysis of possible anti-depressive effects of TPS® based on neuropsychological and functional imaging data.2
The investigators analyzed changes in Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and functional connectivity (FC) changes with functional magnetic resonance imaging in 18 AD patients. The patients received TPS® treatment for 4 weeks, with three sessions per week (three patients for only 2 weeks, one patient for 3 weeks). MRI data acquisition and neuropsychological tests were performed the week before and after TPS® therapy.
Results and conclusion
The investigators found a significant improvement in BDI-II after TPS® therapy. On average, BDI-II score was 7.36 (standard deviation [SD] = 5.09, N = 14) at baseline and 5.00 (SD = 4.11, N = 14) in the post-stimulation session. FC analysis showed a normalization of the FC between the salience network (right anterior insula) and the ventromedial network (left frontal orbital cortex).
The TPS® stimulation of areas related to depression (including extended dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) appears to alleviate depressive symptoms and induces FC changes
in AD patients. According to the authors, the results show that TPS® may be a relevant and effective add-on treatment option for depressive symptoms in AD and possibly also in depression. For patients already on optimized pharmacological therapy, this holds the possibility to improve, besides memory functions, also depressive symptoms and increase quality of life.