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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec 28

Asian J Psychiatr


Real world research on transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment strategies for neuropsychiatric symptoms with long-COVID in Japan.


Noda Y, Sato A, Shichi M, Sato A, Fujii K, Iwasa M, Nagano Y, Kitahata R, Osawa R
Asian J Psychiatr. 2022 Dec 28; 81:103438.
PMID: 36610206.


The number of patients suffering from long-COVID is currently increasing rapidly, even after the acute symptoms of COVID-19 have improved. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a pilot transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment on neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by long-COVID. In this study, we examined the efficacy of the TMS treatment protocol, which has been established to be effective in refractory depression, by applying it to patients who sought TMS treatment for neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by long-COVID at TMS clinics in Tokyo, Japan in the context of the real world TMS registry study in Japan. Of the 23 patients (13 females) with long-COVID included in this case series, the main neuropsychiatric symptoms were chronic fatigue (n = 12) and cognitive dysfunction (n = 11), but most patients also showed mild depressive symptoms. The mean score on the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale before TMS treatment was 21.2, which improved to 9.8 after treatment. Similarly, the score on the Performance Status, which assesses the degree of fatigue, improved from 5.4 to 4.2, and the score on the Perceived Deficits Questionnaire-Depression 5-item, which reflects cognitive function, improved from 10.0 to 6.3. Although a few patients complained of pain at the stimulation site during the TMS as a side effect, there were no serious adverse events. Despite the limitations of this open-label pilot study, the TMS protocol implemented in this study may have beneficial effects on neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by long-COVID, including depressive symptoms, chronic fatigue, and cognitive impairment. These preliminary findings warrant further validation in randomized controlled trials.