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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 17 (2006), Issue 3-4, Pages 195-199

rTMS For PTSD: Induced Merciful Oblivion or Elimination of Abnormal Hypermnesia?

Simone Rossi,1 Stefano F. Cappa,2 Monica Ulivelli,1 Alberto De Capua,3 Sabina Bartalini,1 and Paolo M. Rossini4,5

1Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Sezione Neurologia, Università di Siena, Policlinico le Scotte, Viale Bracci, I-53100, Siena, Italy
2Centro di Neuroscienze Cognitive, Università Salute-Vita S. Raffaele, DIBIT Via Olgettina 58, I-20132, Milano, Italy
3Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Sezione Psichiatria, Università di Siena, Policlinico le Scotte, Viale Bracci, I-53100, Siena, Italy
4AFaR.- Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, S.Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina, I-00186, Roma, Italy
5Clinica Neurologica, Università Campus Biomedico, Via Longoni 71, Roma, Italy

Received 21 November 2006; Accepted 21 November 2006

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuroimaging studies and experimental data suggest that symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are associated with dysfunctions of neural circuits linking prefrontal cortex and the limbic system that have a role in autobiographic episodic memory. High-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has been suggested to be beneficial to patients with PTSD, transiently alleviating re-experiencing as well as avoidance reactions and associated anxiety symptoms. In healthy humans, converging evidence suggests that rTMS of the right DLPFC interferes with episodic memory retrieval. Hence, we hypothesize that daily applications of rTMS in PTSD patients may reduce access to the set of autobiographical stored events, that, if re-experienced, may cause the overt PTSD symptoms.