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The Effect of Accelerated Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation on Weight Loss in Overweight Individuals With Schizophrenia: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Sham-Controlled Clinical Trial.

Schizophrenia Bulletin 2023 October 32
BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESIS: Obesity is a common comorbidity in individuals with schizophrenia and is associated with poor clinical outcomes. At present, there are limited effective approaches for addressing this issue. We conducted a double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial to investigate the efficacy of noninvasive magnetic stimulation techniques in reducing obesity in individuals with schizophrenia.

STUDY DESIGN: Forty overweight individuals with schizophrenia were recruited and randomly assigned to receive either the active or sham intervention. The active group received 50 accelerated continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) sessions over the left primary motor area (M1), while the sham group received sham stimulation. The primary outcomes were the change in body weight and body mass index (BMI), and the secondary outcomes were the psychiatric symptoms, eating behavior scales, metabolic measures, and electrophysiological to food picture stimuli.

STUDY RESULTS: The study demonstrated a significant decrease in body weight and BMI after the intervention selectively in the active group (mean = -1.33 kg, P = .002), and this improvement remained at the 1-month follow-up (mean = -2.02 kg, P = .008). The score on the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (mean = -1.78, P = 0.036) decreased in the active group and mediated the effect of accelerated cTBS on body weight. In the food picture cue electroencephalograph task, the late positive potential component, which is related to motivated attention and emotional processing, decreased in frontal brain regions and increased in posterior regions after the active intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: The accelerated cTBS may offer a promising approach for treating obesity in individuals with schizophrenia. Further research with a larger sample size or individualized stimulation protocol should be promising.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical trial registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05086133).

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