Motor cortex excitability in Alzheimer disease: one year follow-up study

Neurosci Lett. 2002 Sep 6;329(3):293-6. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(02)00701-2.


Seventeen patients affected by Alzheimer disease (AD) underwent two transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies separated by an interval of 12 months, in order to monitor possible changes in motor cortex excitability. After the first examination, all patients were treated with cholinesterase inhibitor drugs. Motor threshold (MT), amplitude of motor evoked potentials and central motor conduction time were considered. After one year, the mean MT values showed a decrease significantly correlated with the severity of cognitive involvement, evaluated by means of the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). The difference in MT between the two recording sessions showed no significant correlation with the difference in MMSE score. One year of treatment with cholinesterase inhibitor drugs did not stop the progressive increase in motor cortex excitability. Serial analysis of TMS might represent a method to monitor the rate of change in motor cortex excitability in patients with AD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors