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The effects of supplementary motor area (SMA) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Publication Reference

Hawken, E. R., Dilkov, D., Kaludiev, E., Simek, S., Zhang, F., & Milev, R. (2016). Transcranial magnetic stimulation of the supplementary motor area in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: a multi-site study. International journal of molecular sciences17(3), 420.


Article Summary*

A multi-site, double-blind, sham-controlled study was performed to investigate whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) may reduce symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). At seven sites, OCD patients were randomized to receive six weeks of active (n=10) or sham (n=12) low frequency rTMS applied bilaterally to the supplementary motor area (SMA). OCD symptom severity was measured using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) at baseline, day 1, weeks 2, 4, and 6 during active or sham rTMS. Follow-up Y-BOCS assessments were also performed two and six weeks after completing active or sham rTMS.

At six weeks, patients who received active rTMS showed a clinically significant reduction in Y-BOCS scores compared to baseline and to patients who received sham rTMS. This effect was maintained at six weeks after the last session of rTMS. The authors concluded that in this study rTMS appeared to significantly improve the OCD symptoms with a duration that lasted beyond the rTMS application phase. They suggested more studies are needed to determine the generalizability and duration of these effects.


*For original abstract/publication see the link below.


Publication link: IJMS | Free Full-Text | Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Supplementary Motor Area in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Multi-Site Study (

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