The objective of this study is to assess the safety and efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for gait and bradykinesia in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, we evaluated the effects of 25 Hz rTMS in 18 PD patients. Eight rTMS sessions were performed over a 4-week period. Four cortical targets (left and right motor and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) were stimulated in each session, with 300 pulses each, 100% of motor threshold intensity. Left motor cortex (MC) excitability was assessed using motor evoked potentials (MEPs) from the abductor pollicis brevis. During the 4 weeks, times for executing walking and complex hand movements tests gradually decreased. The therapeutic rTMS effect lasted for at least 1 month after treatment ended. Right-hand bradykinesia improvement correlated with increased MEP amplitude evoked by left MC rTMS after individual sessions, but improvement overall did not correlate with MC excitability. rTMS sessions appear to have a cumulative benefit for improving gait, as well as reducing upper limb bradykinesia in PD patients. Although short-term benefit may be due to MC excitability enhancement, the mechanism of cumulative benefit must have another explanation.
- Motor cortex
- Parkinson's disease