The effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on motor performance, fatigue and quality of life in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

J Neurol Sci. 2008 Jul 15;270(1-2):18-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2008.01.011. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Background: The treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is still disappointing. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been suggested to modify the rate of disease progression in ALS.

Objective: In a pilot controlled study, we tested the effect of 5-Hz rTMS on motor performance, fatigue and quality of life (QoL) in ALS.

Methods: Ten ALS patients underwent a two-week period of daily active or sham 5-Hz rTMS. Outcome measures were assessed with functional, fatigue and QoL scales. Muscle strength was evaluated with the MRC scale and measured with isometric and isokinetic dynamometer.

Results: Significant difference at the end of rTMS treatment was found for QoL, maximum voluntary isometric contraction and isokinetic average power when comparing active vs sham treatment. These changes were transitory and outcome measures were not significant two weeks after discontinuation of rTMS.

Conclusions: Though preliminary, our results suggest that 5-Hz rTMS may improve motor function and QoL in ALS. The present data indicate the need of a double-blind therapeutic trial of rTMS in ALS.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / physiopathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / psychology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / therapy
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isotonic Contraction / physiology
  • Isotonic Contraction / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Activity / radiation effects*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Time Factors
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome