Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2023 Oct 8:acad067.258. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acad067.258. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been associated with decreased performance in sustained attention tasks (Sinclair et al., 2013). Non-invasive neurostimulation techniques, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) may be utilized to improve cognitive outcomes, however there is uncertainty about which cognitive outcomes should be investigated (Clark & Parasuraman, 2014; Donaldson et al., 2015). The present study examines the observed enhancements in sustained attention related to rTMS administered to older adults with TBI. We utilized the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), a commonly used assessment instrument in research settings that offers various modules for measuring neurocognitive functions (CDC).
METHODS: Veterans and civilians were enrolled (n = 28; mild and moderate TBI; mean age = 62.25) in either placebo or an active group. Participants received neuropsychological assessment at baseline, after 20 rTMS treatments, and at six month follow up. Participants were administered the CANTAB Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVIP) module to assess sustained attention after active rTMS or sham treatment.
RESULTS: Findings revealed that the active rTMS treatment group had a lower RVIPPFA (n = 12; M = 0.003; SD = 0.003) compared to the sham group (n = 16; M = 0.02; SD = 0.06), indicating a potential improvement in visual sustained attention. A moderate effect size was observed between the two groups (Cohen’s d = 0.48).
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that rTMS treatment could potentially enhance cognitive performance, specifically visual sustained attention, in older adults. Further research is warranted to investigate the impact of rTMS on sustained attention and its clinical implications.