- •Significant clinical improvements were only found after real rTMS stimulation.
- •The beneficial effects of rTMS could last at least 4 weeks after stimulation.
- •High-frequency rTMS over SMA may ultimately serve as an add-on therapy for FOG in PD.
Freezing of gait (FOG) contributes to falls in Parkinson's disease (PD), but robust, effective treatments remain elusive. There is evidence indicating that the supplementary motor area (SMA) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of FOG and may therefore be a potential neuromodulation target. The present study explored the clinical efficacy of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the SMA on FOG in PD patients.
A group of 30 PD patients with FOG were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial. Patients were randomly allocated 2:1 to receive ten sessions of either real (N = 20) or sham (N = 10) 10 Hz rTMS over SMA. The patients were assessed at baseline (T0), after the 5th (T1) and 10th (T2) sessions, and then 2 weeks (T3) and 4 weeks (T4) after the last session. The primary clinical outcome was the Freezing of Gait Questionnaire score (FOGQ), with the Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor scores (MDS-UPDRS III) and Timed Up and Go test as secondary clinical outcomes. All the assessments were carried out at the “ON” state.
With a four week's follow-up, there were significant interaction effects in the FOGQ (effect of group*time, p = 0.04), MDS-UPDRS III (p = 0.02) and several gait variables (total duration, p < 0.01; cadence, p = 0.04; turn duration, p = 0.01; and turn to sit duration, p = 0.02). Post-hoc analyses revealed a significantly decreased FOGQ score at T2 and T4, and significant improvements of MDS-UPDRS III and gait variables at T1, T2, T3 and T4 in the rTMS group. No significant improvements were found in the sham group.
High-frequency rTMS over SMA may ultimately serve as an add-on therapy for alleviating FOG in PD patients.
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Published online: October 11, 2019
Accepted: October 10, 2019
Received in revised form: October 4, 2019
Received: May 9, 2019
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