It is unknown whether repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) could improve sleep quality by modulating electroencephalography (EEG) connectivity of insomnia disorder (ID) patients. Great heterogeneity had been found in the clinical outcomes of rTMS for ID. The study aimed to investigate the potential mechanisms of rTMS therapy for ID and develop models to predict clinical outcomes.
In Study 1, 50 ID patients were randomly divided into active and sham groups, and subjected to 20 sessions of treatment with 1 Hz rTMS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. EEG during awake, Polysomnography, and clinical assessment were collected and analyzed before and after rTMS. In Study 2, 120 ID patients were subjected to active rTMS stimulation and were then separated into optimal and sub-optimal groups due to the median of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index reduction rate. Machine learning models were developed based on baseline EEG coherence to predict rTMS treatment effects.
In Study 1, decreased EEG coherence in theta and alpha bands were observed after rTMS treatment, and changes in theta band (F7-O1) coherence were correlated with changes in sleep efficiency. In Study 2, baseline EEG coherence in theta, alpha, and beta bands showed the potential to predict the treatment effects of rTMS for ID.
rTMS improved sleep quality of ID patients by modulating the abnormal EEG coherence. Baseline EEG coherence between certain channels in theta, alpha, and beta bands could act as potential biomarkers to predict the therapeutic effects.

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