Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation With H-Coil in Alzheimer's Disease: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
Leocani L., Dalla Costa G., Coppi E., Santangelo R., Pisa M., Ferrari L., Bernasconi MP., Falautano M., Zangen A., Magnani G., Comi G.
Focal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been applied to improve cognition in Alzheimer's disease (AD) with conflicting results. We applied rTMS in AD in a pilot placebo-controlled study using the H2-coil. H-coils are suitable for targeting wider neuronal structures compared with standard focal coils, in particular the H2-coil stimulates simultaneously the frontal-parietal-temporal lobes bilaterally. Thirty patients (mean age 70.9 year, SD 8.1; mean MMSE score 16.9, SD 5.5) were randomized to sham or real 10 Hz rTMS stimulation with the H2-coil. Each patient underwent 3 sessions/week for 4 weeks, followed by 4 weeks with maintenance treatment (1 session/week). Primary outcome was improvement of ADAS-cog at 4 and 8 weeks compared with baseline. A trend toward an improved ADAS-cog score over time was observed for patients undergoing real rTMS, with actively treated patients experiencing a mean decrease of −1.01 points at the ADAS-Cog scale score per time point (95% CIs −0.02 to −3.13, p < 0.04). This trend was no longer evident 2 months after the end of treatment. Real rTMS showed no significant effect on MMSE and BDI changes over time. These preliminary findings suggest that rTMS with H-coil is feasible and safe in patients with probable AD and might provide beneficial, even though transient, effects on cognition. This study prompts larger studies in the early stages of AD, combining rTMS and cognitive rehabilitation.Clinical Trial Registration:www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier: NCT04562506.