Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS): Ongoing study from the Klinikum Wahrendorff

Europe’s largest specialist psychiatric clinic presents interim results of its study on TPS

Alzheimer’s dementia and depression are often linked clinical pictures. Many patients with Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) also suffer from depression, which increases the complexity of treatment. Studies show that up to 40 percent of Alzheimer’s patients suffer from significant depression1. Clinical research suggests that the prevalence of major depression in AD patients is between 20 percent and 25 percent, while other depressive syndromes may affect an additional 20 percent to 30 percent.

This high rate of comorbidity is significant, as depression in AD patients not only further impairs quality of life, but is also associated with an increased burden on relatives and caregivers, earlier entry into nursing homes and a higher mortality rate2.

Klinikum Wahrendorff: TPS study on cognitive abilities and depressive symptoms in AD patients

The Klinikum Wahrendorff in Lower Saxony, Europe’s largest privately run psychiatric specialist clinic, is one of the few care clinics to have its own research and development department and is also conducting a multi-year study on Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) with regard to AD and depression3 . Under the direction of Medical Director and Chief Physician Prof. Marc Ziegenbein, Wahrendorff began working with TPS in 2021 to investigate the opportunities and potential of treatment options with the low-energy shock waves of TPS. Following initial positive results, which showed that the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia could be significantly slowed or halted in patients, a clinical study was initiated (see interview with Prof. Marc Ziegenbein: Prof. Marc Ziegenbein about TPS ).

In the study, which includes 62 test subjects, the cognitive ability of the patients is recorded using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in order to observe the changes during therapy with Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS). In addition, the development of possible depressive symptoms will be investigated using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Another focus of the study is to document the patients’ experiences with TPS therapy, particularly with regard to their well-being, quality of life and coping with everyday life.

Positive effects of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) on Alzheimer’s dementia and depression

Prof. Ziegenbein and his team recently presented interim results of the study at the 35th World Congress Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP) in Tokyo with a poster, which led to great interest in TPS among colleagues from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea. In particular, the penetration depth of the TPS shock waves and the targeted targeting of the stimulation areas were perceived by colleagues as a remarkable innovation in the field of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS).

The study participants – 35 women (56 percent) and 27 men (44 percent) with an average age of 71 years, diagnosed on the basis of ICD-10 classifications – were treated in an outpatient setting. The measurements were taken at the start of treatment and then every three months over a period of 12 months to date.

Maintenance of cognitive performance, reduction in depressive symptom burden

The results of the study show minimal changes in cognitive performance across the three measurement time points (t1: baseline, t2: after 3 months, t3: after 6 months). A repeated measures ANOVA showed no significant change in MoCA scores, which also indicates in the Wahrendorff study that TPS may contribute to the maintenance of cognitive performance. The GDS showed significant differences between the measurement times, which indicates a reduction in the depressive symptom burden.

The significant improvement in neuropsychological test results and depressive symptom burden are promising, Prof. Ziegenbein and team conclude. However, further studies are needed to continue to conclusively prove the effectiveness of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS). The study at the Wahrendorff Clinic will be continued.

The poster for the study can be viewed in the “Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) – Studies, posters and literature” section: