Can We Use a Medication to Enhance the Changes Associated with Brain Stimulation? A Study of Healthy Subjects


rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) is a tool for studying brain function in humans safely and non-invasively. rTMS has been in use for over thirty-five years, and is approved by both the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and Health Canada. It is most commonly used to treat Major Depression and is being investigated for other uses.

We are conducting a study in healthy individuals to test a strategy of enhancing the effects of a rTMS. This is an important first step towards our long-term goal of improving the benefits patients receive from this treatment. We are looking for healthy individuals who are willing to come to the laboratory two times. During the visits, you will receive brain stimulation while we record muscle activity in a small muscle of the hand. This study also involves taking a low dose of an antibiotic that is being used for its ability to enhance adaptive changes in the brain.

The study involves two visits because we are asking participants to complete two identical sessions. We are asking participants to do one session after taking a capsule with the real medication and one session after taking a placebo capsule. These two sessions will be separated by at least a week. This is a way of ensuring that any effects we see are truly related to the medication. Each session will be about 3.5 hours.

Although our long-term goal is to conduct treatment trials, we are not looking for people with depression or a history of depression for this study. The goal of this study is first to test the strategy in the motor system before moving to brain targets involved in depression. We do not expect the effects of the current study to be in any way beneficial in depression.

Participants will be compensated for their time.


Currently recruiting participants: No

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 18 to 65

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

1. Healthy individuals without chronic medical conditions
2. Aged 18-65

Exclusion criteria:

1. Allergy to d-cycloserine
2. Currently pregnant or lactating (breastfeeding)
3. Epilepsy or history of seizures
4. Previous Stroke
5. Current Renal Disease
6. Current Liver Disease
7. Current Alcohol Use Disorder or other form of addiction
8. Inability to refrain from alcohol use for 24 hours prior to each session
9. have an intracranial implant (e.g., aneurysm clips, shunts, stimulators, cochlear implants, or electrodes) or any other metal object within or near the head. Dental hardware is fine.
10. Use of isoniazid or ethionamide (tuberculosis medications that interact with d-cycloserine)
11. Current psychiatric concerns that would interfere with study visits (for example, depression or anxiety severe enough that would make attending visits or staying until the end of the visit challenging)


Sorry, this study is not currently accepting new participants.
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Additional information

Contact information

If you are interested or would like to hear more about this study, please contact the study coordinator Jaeden Cole

Principal investigator:

Alexander McGirr

Clinical trial: