Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) improves movement-related cortical potentials in autism spectrum disorders

Brain Stimul. 2012 Jan;5(1):30-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


Background: Motor impairments are common in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Electrophysiologic studies reveal abnormalities in the preparation of movement; repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to key motor cortical sites may therefore be a useful technique for improving motor function in ASD.

Objective: To examine whether rTMS can improve electrophysiologic and behavioral indices of motor activity.

Methods: Eleven participants with ASD completed three sessions in which they were administered one of three rTMS conditions (left M1, supplementary motor area [SMA], sham) at 1 Hz for 15 minutes. Movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) were assessed before and after rTMS.

Results: rTMS to the SMA was associated with a gradient increase to the early component of MRCPs, whereas rTMS to left M1 produced a stronger gradient in the late component.

Conclusions: rTMS appears to improve movement-related electrophysiologic activity in ASD, perhaps through an influence on cortical inhibitory processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / complications
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / therapy*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Movement Disorders / therapy*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Young Adult