Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) might be a promising treatment strategy for depression. As one of the key features of melancholic depression is disturbances in psychomotor activity, we wanted to evaluate whether HF-rTMS treatment could influence psychomotor symptoms. Twenty antidepressant-free unipolar melancholic depressed patients, all at least stage III medication-resistant, were studied. All were treated with 10 sessions of High-Frequency (HF)-rTMS applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) under MRI guidance. Forty percent of the patients showed a reduction of at least 50% on their initial 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Score (HDRS) scale and were defined as clinical responders. Regardless of clinical outcome HF-rTMS treatment resulted in significant decreases on the Depressive Retardation Rating Scale (DRRS) scores. Although this was an open study in a relatively small sample, our results suggest that HF-rTMS might act on the 'psychomotor' level and these findings could add some further information as to why this kind of treatment can be beneficial for severely depressed patients of the melancholic subtype.
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