We studied the effects of repetitive transcranial stimulation of the motor cortex (rTMS) on choice reaction time (cRT), movement time (MT), and error rate (ER) in a serial reaction-time task in six medicated patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and 10 age-matched normal controls. In normal subjects, subthreshold 5-Hz rTMS did not significantly change cRT, slightly shortened MT, but increased ER. In the patients, rTMS significantly shortened cRT and MT without affecting ER. These effects did not impair procedural learning. Performance on a grooved peg-board test was improved by rTMS in the same PD patients, especially when they were off medications, but worsened in the normal subjects. Repetitive, subthreshold motor cortex stimulation can improve performance in patients with PD and could be useful therapeutically.
Neurology 1994 May;44(5):892-8
Pascual-Leone A, Valls-Sole J, Brasil-Neto JP, Cammarota A, Grafman J, Hallett M.
Human Cortical Physiology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.