Differentiating responders and non-responders to rTMS treatment for depression after one week using resting EEG connectivity measures

N. W. Bailey*, K. E. Hoy, N. C. Rogasch, R. H. Thomson, S. McQueen, D. Elliot, C. M. Sullivan, B. D. Fulcher, Z. J. Daskalakis, P. B. Fitzgerald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Non-response to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment for depression is costly for both patients and clinics. Simple and cheap methods to predict response would reduce this burden. Resting EEG measures differentiate responders from non-responders, so may have utility for response prediction. Methods: Fifty patients with treatment resistant depression and 21 controls had resting electroencephalography (EEG) recorded at baseline (BL). Patients underwent 5–8 weeks of rTMS treatment, with EEG recordings repeated at week 1 (W1). Forty-two participants had valid BL and W1 EEG data, and 12 were responders. Responders and non-responders were compared at BL and W1 in measures of theta (4–8 Hz) and alpha (8–13 Hz) power and connectivity, frontal theta cordance and alpha peak frequency. Control group comparisons were made for measures that differed between responders and non-responders. A machine learning algorithm assessed the potential to differentiate responders from non-responders using EEG measures in combination with change in depression scores from BL to W1. Results: Responders showed elevated theta connectivity across BL and W1. No other EEG measures differed between groups. Responders could be distinguished from non-responders with a mean sensitivity of 0.84 (p = 0.001) and specificity of 0.89 (p = 0.002) using cross-validated machine learning classification on the combination of all EEG and mood measures. Limitations: The low response rate limited our sample size to only 12 responders. Conclusion: Resting theta connectivity at BL and W1 differ between responders and non-responders, and show potential for predicting response to rTMS treatment for depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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