Excitatory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation applied to the right inferior frontal gyrus has no effect on motor or cognitive impulsivity in healthy adults

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HighlightsThe rIFG have been suggested its crucial role in impulsivity by inhibitory rTMS.No excitatory rTMS studies have been conducted at rIFG to examine impulsivity.Negative findings from excitatory rTMS at rIFG across motor/cognitive impulsivity.The role of rIFG in impulsivity may require further examinations.Background:Impulsivity is a multi-faceted concept. It is a crucial feature of many neuropsychiatric disorders. Three subtypes of impulsivity have been identified: motor, temporal, and cognitive impulsivity. Existing evidence suggests that the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG) plays a crucial role in impulsivity, and such a role has been elucidated using inhibitory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). There is a dearth of studies using excitatory rTMS at the rIFG, an important gap in the literature this study aimed to address.Methods:Twenty healthy male adults completed a single-blind sham-controlled randomised crossover study aimed at assessing the efficacy of rTMS in the neuromodulation of impulsivity. This involved delivering 10-Hz excitatory rTMS to the rIFG at the intensity of 100% motor threshold with 900 pulses per session. Trait impulsivity was measured at baseline using the Barrett Impulsiveness Scale and UPPS-P Impulsiveness Scale. The Stop Signal Task (SST) and Information Sampling Task (IST), administered before and after rTMS sessions, were used as behavioural measures of impulsivity.Results:No significant changes on any measures from either SST or IST after active rTMS at the rIFG compared to the sham-controlled condition were found.Conclusions:Excitatory rTMS applied to the rIFG did not have a statistically significant effect on response inhibition and reflective/cognitive impulsivity. Further research is required before drawing firm conclusions. This may involve a larger sample of highly impulsive individuals, a different stimulation site or a different TMS modality such as theta burst stimulation.

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