The author reviews the applications of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in a series of movement disorders–namely, Parkinson’s disease, corticobasal degeneration, multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, essential tremor, dystonia, Huntington’s chorea, myoclonus, the ataxias, Tourette’s syndrome, restless legs syndrome, Wilson’s disease, Rett syndrome, and stiff-person syndrome. Single- and paired-pulse TMS studies have been done mainly for pathophysiologic purposes. Repetitive TMS has been used largely for therapy. Many TMS abnormalities are seen in the different diseases. They concur to show that motor cortical areas and their projections are the main target of the basal ganglia dysfunction typical of movement disorders. Interpretation has not always been clear, and sometimes there were discrepancies and contradictions. Largely, this may be the result of the extreme heterogeneity of the methods used and of the patients studied. It is premature to give repetitive TMS a role in treatment. Overall, however, TMS gives rise to a new, outstanding enthusiasm in the neurophysiology of movement disorders. There is reason to predict that TMS, with its continuous technical refinement, will prove even more helpful in the near future. Then, research achievements are reasonably expected to spill over into clinical practice.
J Clin Neurophysiol 2002 Aug;19(4):272-93
Department of Medical Sciences, Section of Neurology, School of Medicine, Amedeo Avogadro University, Novara, Italy.