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  • A pilot, randomized clinical trial: Left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex intermittent theta burst stimulation improves treatment outcomes in veterans with alcohol use disorder. Alcohol, clinical & experimental research Padula, C. B., McCalley, D. M., Tenekedjieva, L., MacNiven, K., Rauch, A., Morales, J. M., Knutson, B., Humphreys, K., Williams, L. M., Durazzo, T. C. 2024; 48 (1): 164-177


    BACKGROUND: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers a promising treatment avenue to modulate brain function in alcohol use disorder (AUD). To the best of our knowledge, this pilot study is the first randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial to deliver intermittent theta burst stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) among US veterans with AUD. We hypothesized that 20 sessions of real TMS are tolerable and feasible. As a secondary line of inquiry, we hypothesized that, relative to sham TMS, individuals receiving real TMS would experience greater reductions in 6-month relapse rates, anhedonia, and alcohol cue-reactivity.METHODS: Veterans (n=17, one woman) were enrolled in a double-blind, sham-controlled trial (2-3 sessions/day; 7-10days; 600 pulses/session; 20 sessions). Pre- and posttreatment assessments included responses to self-report questionnaires and functional magnetic resonance imaging measures of alcohol cue-reactivity. Alcohol consumption was assessed for 6months. Linear mixed-effects models were constructed to predict posttreatment craving, mood, and cue-reactivity.RESULTS: Individuals who received active iTBS (n=8) were less likely to relapse within 3months after treatment than the sham-treated group (n=9) (OR=12.0). Greater reductions in anhedonia were observed following active iTBS (Cohen's d=-0.59), relative to sham (d=-0.25). Alcohol cue-reactivity was reduced following active iTBS and increased following sham within the left insula (d=-0.19 vs. 0.51), left thalamus (d=-0.28 vs. 0.77), right insula (d=0.18 vs. 0.52), and right thalamus (d=-0.06 vs. 0.62).CONCLUSIONS: Relative to sham, we demonstrate that 20 sessions of real left DLPFC iTBS reduced the likelihood of relapse for at least 3months. The potential utility of this approach is underscored by observed decreases in anhedonia and alcohol cue-reactivity-strong predictors of relapse among veterans. These initial data offer a valuable set of effect sizes to inform future clinical trials in this patient population.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/acer.15224

    View details for PubMedID 38197808