Therapeutic effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on motor function in Parkinson's disease patients

Eur J Neurol. 2003 Sep;10(5):567-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-1331.2003.00649.x.


Cortical excitability of the primary motor cortex is altered in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Therefore, modulation of cortical excitability by high frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the motor cortex might result in beneficial effects on motor functions in PD. The present study aims to evaluate the effect of rTMS of the motor cortex on motor functions in patients with PD. Thirty-six unmedicated PD patients were included consecutively in this study. The patients were assigned in a randomized pattern to one of two groups, one group receiving real-rTMS (suprathreshold 5-Hz, 2000 pulses once a day for 10 consecutive days) and the second group receiving sham-rTMS using closed envelopes. Total motor section of Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), walking speed, and self-assessment scale were performed for each patient before rTMS and after the first, fifth, 10th sessions, and then after 1 month. Evaluation of these measures was performed blindly without knowing the type of rTMS. anova for repeated measurements revealed a significant time effect for the total motor UPDRS, walking speed and self-assessment scale during the course of the study in the group of patients receiving real-rTMS (P = 0.0001, 0.001, and 0.002), while no significant changes were observed in the group receiving sham-rTMS except in self-assessment scale (P = 0.019). A 10-day course of real-rTMS resulted in statistically significant long-term improvement of the motor functions in comparison with the sham-rTMS. The rTMS could have a therapeutic role of for PD patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Reaction Time / physiology