Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Barbara A. Winstead

Committee Member

Serina A. Neumann

Committee Member

Miguel A. Padilla


The purpose of this study is to (1) examine the efficacy of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in treating depression among individuals with cognitive impairment and (2) to examine if TMS is capable of facilitating cognitive improvements independent of mood improvements. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is often seen as a pre-clinical stage to dementia, and depressive disorders are highly prevalent among both MCI and dementia. There is a large body of research that has linked depressive disorders as a prodromal symptom of MCI and the later development of dementia. While some researchers debate whether or not this link between depression and MCI/dementia is a true prodromal relationship, or if depression is independently comorbid with MCI/dementia, it remains clear that these disorders occur together in high prevalence rates.

The goal of this study was to determine whether or not Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) might demonstrate treatment efficacy in treating depressive symptoms among individuals who meet MCI criteria. TMS has been previously approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD); however, very few research studies have been performed to analyze TMS’ ability in treating MDD among individuals with MCI.

By analyzing treatment data from individuals who do and do not meet MCI criteria, TMS does appear to demonstrate positive treatment efficacy for treating depressive symptoms among individuals who meet MCI criteria. TMS also appears to be equally efficacious in treating depressive symptoms among this group in comparison to individuals without MCI. TMS also produces positive changes in neurocognitive functioning, both in the MCI and non-MCI groups; however, the results show that these changes in neurocognitive functioning likely occur as a function of depressive symptom reduction.


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