Using adaptive data analytical methods to investigate the central mechanism of transcranial magnetic stimulation efficacy for depression

Project Details


Treatment-resistant depressive (TRD) patients, who have poor medical outcomes,account for approximately one-third of major depressive disorder (MDD) patients. A number of alternatives to pharmacological treatment, including repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and an alternative rTMS protocol of intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS), have been approved as effective treatment for TRD by the FDA in the United States and investigated in numerous studies. Despite the efficacy of this alternative treatment in TRD, more than half of TRD patients did not respond to the treatment. As a result, the investigation of the mechanisms and biomarkers of effect for rTMS and iTBS treatment on MDD are a crucial issue in order to enhance the response rate. Nevertheless, inconclusive outcomes have been shown in numerous studies. In addition to the heterogeneity of depression, another possibility explanation is the limitations of data analysis methods, which are often based on assumptions of linearity in the data, but brain oscillations are both complex and composed of not only merely linear sinusoidal oscillations but also nonlinear amplitude-/frequency-modulated signals. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the mechanisms of rTMS and iTBS as revealed by resting state brain oscillations of individuals with TRD by applying recently-developed adaptive data analytical methods proposed by our group. This also aims to further investigate potential optimal biomarkers for facilitating therapeutic efficacy in TRD treatment. Total of 60 MDD patients are going to be recruited. They will be randomly assigned to receive intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS), 10-Hz rTMS, or sham stimulation. Each participant will go through a two-week treatment phase with resting state electroencephalography (EEG) recordings before and after the treatment phase. Additionally, the resting state EEG will be recorded after one session of treatment. The study will clarify the therapeutic effect of different protocols of stimulation and explore the ultimate parameters for treatment stimulation. These studies will improve the current treatment protocols and also build a benchmark for effective therapy in mental diseases.
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • treatment-resistant depressive patients
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation(rTMS)
  • intermittent theta burst stimulation(iTBS)
  • resting state EEG


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