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CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1871-5273
ISSN (Online): 1996-3181

Does Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Improve Cognition in Major Depressive Disorder? A Systematic Review

Author(s): Gabriel Tortella, Priscila M.L. Selingardi, Marina L. Moreno, Beatriz P. Veronezi and Andre R. Brunoni

Volume 13, Issue 10, 2014

Page: [1759 - 1769] Pages: 11

DOI: 10.2174/1871527313666141130224431

Price: $65


Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques, such as repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), have been increasingly used in different contexts to improve cognitive performance and ameliorate depression symptoms. Considering that major depression is usually accompanied by cognitive deficits, NIBS technique could be also helpful to improve cognition in depressed patients. In this systematic review, we researched for articles published in PubMed/MEDLINE from the first date available to June 2014 that assessed cognitive performance in patients with depression before and after NIBS. Out of 191 references, 25 (16 for rTMS and 9 for tDCS) studies matched our eligibility criteria. Non-invasive brain stimulation interventions, such as rTMS and tDCS seem to be a promising tool for cognitive enhancement in MDD, although several issues and biases (e.g., blinding issues, tests without correction for multiple comparisons, placebo effects and exploratory analyses, practice effects) hinder us to conclude that NIBS technique improve cognition in patients with depression. We discussed possible shortcomings of the included studies, such as the use of different depression treatment protocols, the possibility that some findings were false-positive results of the employed cognitive tasks and whether cognition improvement could have been an epiphenomenon secondary to depression improvement. To conclude, whereas these non-pharmacological, non-invasive techniques are particularly appealing for cognitive improvement in depression, further studies are still warranted to disentangle whether NIBS technique induce positive effects on cognition beyond their antidepressant effects.

Keywords: Cognitive assessment, major depressive disorder, systematic review, transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, working memory.

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