Magnetic Resonance Therapy Improves Clinical Phenotype and EEG Alpha Power in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder




Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling and prevalent psychiatric disorder with limited effective treatment options. In addition to the clinical features of the disease, pathologic changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG), including decreased alpha power, have been reported. Objectives: To determine if magnetic brain stimulation can induce normalization of EEG abnormalities and improve clinical symptoms in PTSD in a preliminary, open-label evaluation. Materials and Methods: We reviewed prospectively-collected data on 21 veterans that were consecutively-treated for PTSD. Magnetic resonance therapy (MRT) was administered for two weeks at treatment frequencies based on frequency-domain analysis of each patient’s dominant alpha-band EEG frequencies and resting heart rate. Patients were evaluated on the PTSD checklist (PCL-M) and pre- and posttreatment EEGs before and after MRT. Results: Of the 21 patients who initiated therapy, 16 completed treatment. Clinical improvements on the PCL-M were seen in these 16 patients, with an average pre-treatment score of 54.9 and post-treatment score of 31.8 (P < 0.001). In addition, relative global EEG alphaband (8 - 13 Hz) power increased from 32.0 to 38.5 percent (P = 0.013), and EEG delta-band (1 - 4 Hz) power decreased from 32.3 percent to 26.8 percent (P = 0.028). Conclusions: These open-label data show trends toward normalization of EEG and concomitant clinical improvement using magnetic stimulation for PTSD.