Neural Circuit Biomarkers of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Study

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Stanford University
Updated on 22 April 2022
depressive disorder
transcranial magnetic stimulation


The objective of this observational study is to test whether neuroimaging biomarkers of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be prospectively replicated in a large ecologically valid sample. We focus on cognitive network connectivity as a predictive biomarker of the clinical effect of TMS, and as a response biomarker of change with TMS. We address this objective through a pragmatic approach in which we recruit patients undergoing routine clinical care and program evaluation in a Veterans Administration multi-site clinical TMS program.


Although repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is becoming a gold standard treatment for pharmacoresistant depression, we lack neural target biomarkers for identifying who is most likely to respond to TMS and why. To address this gap in knowledge this observational study evaluates neural targets defined by activation and functional connectivity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-anchored cognitive control circuit, regions of the default mode network and attention circuit, and interactions with the subgenual anterior cingulate.

The study evaluates whether these targets and interactions between them change in a dose-dependent manner, whether changes in these neural targets correspond to changes in cognitive behavioral performance, and whether baseline and early change in neural target and cognitive behavioral performance predict subsequent symptom severity, suicidality, and quality of life outcomes.

This study is designed as a pragmatic, mechanistic observational trial partnering with the National Clinical TMS Program of the Veteran's Health Administration.

All veterans will receive a clinical course of TMS as part of their routine care. Those who agree to enrollment in the observational study will be assessed at 'baseline' prior to commencement of their TMS treatment, 'first week' after initiation of TMS (targeting five sessions) and 'post-treatment' at the completion of TMS (targeting 30 sessions).

Veterans will be assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a cognitive behavioral performance battery, and established questionnaires.

To our knowledge, our study will be the first pragmatic, mechanistic observational trial to use fMRI imaging and cognitive-behavioral performance as biomarkers of TMS treatment response in pharmacoresistant MDD.

Condition Depression
Treatment transcranial magnetic stimulation
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04663841
SponsorStanford University
Last Modified on22 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Ages 18 years and older
Meets Diagnostic and Statistical Manual edition 5 (DSM-5) criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (as documented by the treating physician)
Meet study criteria for pharmacoresistance in accordance with the Clinical transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) Program (i.e. failed at least one antidepressant in the current episode)
Ability to obtain a motor threshold (MT) prior to the start of treatment
Stable medical conditions and ability to maintain stability on current medication regimen for the duration of treatment
Ability to participate in a daily treatment regimen
Able to read, verbalize understanding, and voluntarily sign the Informed Consent Form prior to participating in any study-specific procedures or assessments

Exclusion Criteria

History of seizure disorder
Structural or neurologic abnormalities present or in close proximity to the treatment site
History of brain surgery
Pacemaker or medical infusion device (unless magnetic resonance imaging compatible)
History of traumatic brain injury within 60 days of the start of treatment
Severe or uncontrolled alcohol or substance use disorders
Active withdrawal from alcohol or substances
Implanted device in the head
Metal in the head
Severe impediment to vision, hearing and/or hand movement, likely to interfere with ability to complete the assessments, or unable and/or unlikely to follow the study protocols
Lifetime history of bipolar I disorder
Inability to speak, read or understand English
Plans to move out of the area during the study period
Clinician and/or Investigator discretion for clinical safety or protocol adherence
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer  to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note