Effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on the Cognitive Control of Emotion: Potential Antidepressant Mechanisms

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Depression negatively impacts quality of life and is associated with high mortality rates. Recent research has demonstrated that improvement in depression symptoms with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) may involve changes in the cognitive control network, a regulatory system modulating the function of cognitive and emotional systems, composed of the DLPFC, dorsal anterior cingulate, and posterior parietal cortices. Transcranial magnetic stimulation to the DLPFC node of the cognitive control network may have antidepressant efficacy via direct effects on cognitive control processes involved in emotion regulation. This review provides a review of the impact of TMS on cognitive control processes, especially those related to emotion regulation, and posits that these effects are critical to the mechanism of action of TMS for depression. Treatment implications and future directions for study are discussed.

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