Clinical Epidemiology and Ageing

Multi-site rTMS with cognitive training improves apathy in the long term in Alzheimer's disease: A 4-year chart review.

Moreno ASuarez, Nguyen J-P, Calmelet A, Le Saout E, Damier P, de Decker L, Malineau C, Nizard J, Canoui-Poitrine F, Lefaucheur J-P Clin Neurophysiol. 2022;137:75-83.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the long-term effects of multi-site repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with cognitive training (NeuroAD procedure) on cognitive symptoms and apathy in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) as part of a 4-year chart review.

METHODS: The study included the 30 AD patients who underwent NeuroAD treatment between 2015 and 2019 at our center. The clinical evaluation was based on the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) and Apathy Inventory (AI). Assessment was performed before treatment (baseline), after an initial 6-week protocol of 30 sessions (M1.5), then 3 months (M3), 1 year (M12), and between 1.5 and 4 years (mean 28 months, M28) after treatment initiation.

RESULTS: During the first year of follow-up, the AI score improved at all time points (M1.5, M3, M12, p < 0.0001), the ADAS-Cog score improved at the end of the initial procedure (M1.5, p = 0.003) then deteriorated (M12, p = 0.01), while the MMSE score did not change. At final assessment (M28), the AI score was still improved from baseline (p < 0.0001), while the MMSE and ADAS-Cog scores worsened (p < 0.0001). Regarding the ADAS-Cog score, the prolonged improvement at M12 or M28 was correlated with the initial improvement at M1.5.

CONCLUSION: The NeuroAD procedure produced long-term improvement in apathy and more general cognitive improvement only in patients who responded well to the initial 6-week protocol.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest long-term beneficial effects of the NeuroAD procedure on apathy, which need to be confirmed in controlled studies. The criteria for predicting a good outcome before starting the procedure remain to be defined.

MeSH terms: Alzheimer Disease; Apathy; Cognition; Cognition Disorders; Humans; Neuropsychological Tests; Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
DOI: 10.1016/j.clinph.2022.02.017