Even though the therapeutic potential of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is investigated for a broad range of neuropsychiatric disorders, up to now rTMS is only FDA approved for the treatment of treatment resistant depression (TRD). Standard stimulation protocol for this patient group consists of daily sessions of rTMS, stimulation frequency 10-18 Hz, repeated for 4-6 weeks.
At the psychiatry department of the University Hospital Ghent (under supervision of Prof. Baeken), accelerated stimulation protocols are tested in randomized, sham-controlled, double-blinded trials. Accelerated basically means that the stimulation sessions are applied within a couple of days (multiple stimulation sessions a day) instead of over a period of weeks (one stimulation session a day).
An MRI protocol, including anatomical, functional, and diffusion sequences, is applied before and after sham and real stimulation. Functional MRI and diffusion MRI data are used to investigate the effects of stimulation on brain network topology.