Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Promotes Gait Training in Parkinson Disease

Chloe Lau Ha Chung, Margaret Kit Yi Mak (Corresponding Author), Mark Hallett

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether priming with 1 or 25Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) will enhance the benefits from treadmill training up to 3 months postintervention in people with Parkinson disease (PD), and to evaluate the underlying changes in cortical excitability. Methods: This randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted between October 2016 and December 2018. Fifty-one participants with PD were randomized to receive 12 sessions of rTMS (25Hz, 1Hz, or sham) followed by treadmill training. All participants were assessed at baseline and 1 day, 1 month, and 3 months postintervention. Primary outcome was fastest walking speed, and secondary outcomes were timed up-and-go test (TUG), dual-task TUG (DT-TUG), motor section of the Movement Disorder Society–Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS-III), and electrophysiological evaluation of cortical excitability by TMS. Results: The 1 and 25Hz rTMS groups produced a greater improvement in fastest walking speed at 1 day and 3 months postintervention than the sham group. Only the 1 and 25Hz rTMS groups sustained the improvements in TUG, and had a significant improvement in DT-TUG and MDS-UPDRS-III for up to 3 months. Behavioral improvements correlated with increased cortical silent period and short-interval intracortical inhibition in both groups receiving real rTMS. Interpretation: Priming with 1 and 25Hz rTMS can augment the benefits of treadmill training and lead to long-term motor improvement up to 3 months postintervention. The motor improvement at follow-up was associated with a normalization of cortical excitability, which in turn suggests an alteration of the homeostatic plasticity range. Rebalancing cortical excitability by rTMS appears critical for plasticity induction. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:933–945.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-945
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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