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Original Research

The Relationship of Anxious Arousal With Treatment of Dysphoria Using Virtual Reality Mindfulness and 2 Accelerated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Protocols

Austin M. Spitz, MS; Megan C. Senda, BS; Kevin A. Johnson, PhD, RN; Isabelle M. Taylor, MA; Mariah M. Jensen; and F. Andrew Kozel, MD, MSCR

Published: May 22, 2024


Objective: This secondary analysis investigated the relationship of anxious arousal, as measured by the Tension Anxiety subscale of the Profile of Mood States (TA-POMS), to treatment outcome across diagnoses for each phase of the study. Sequential treatment phases of virtual reality (VR) mindfulness followed by left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) accelerated transcranial magnetic stimulation (accel-TMS) and then dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) accel-TMS were used to treat dysphoria across diagnoses in an open trial from September 2021 to August 2023.

Methods: The change in the TA-POMS subscale was compared to the percent change in primary clinician scale scores using a bivariate analysis. Baseline TA-POMS subscales were compared to treatment response using linear regression models to assess anxious arousal’s impact on treatment outcome for the 3 phases. Significance was defined as P < .05, 2-tailed.

Results: Twenty-three participants were enrolled in VR mindfulness, 19 in left dlPFC accel-TMS, and 12 in dmPFC accel TMS. Although the change in TA-POMS scores did not significantly correlate with the percent change in primary clinician scale ratings for the VR phase, they did for both the dlPFC (P = .041) and the dmPFC (P = .003) accel-TMS treatment phases. Importantly, baseline anxious arousal levels as measured by TA-POMS were not predictive of treatment outcome in any treatment phase.

Conclusion: The outcome of accel-TMS treatment was not adversely affected by anxious arousal and similarly improved along with primary rating scales.

Trial Registration: identifier: NCT05061745

J Clin Psychiatry 2024;85(2):23m15195

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 85

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