A recent study has assessed transcranial magnetic stimulation in Parkinson’s disease patients as a therapeutic strategy for ‘freezing of gait’.
Parkinson’s disease patients are commonly affected by what is called ‘freezing of gait’. As the term suggests, freezing of gait is difficulty in walking, with patients momentarily unable to progress forward while walking. Over time, as this symptom gets worse, there is frequently the need for patients to use a wheelchair.
Researchers have investigated whether a non-invasive treatment, transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a potential strategy to alleviate this symptom of Parkinson’s disease. The results of the study were published in the journal Restorative Neurology & Neuroscience. A total of 17 patients were recruited for the study. The patients were treated with high frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation over the lower leg primary cortex in the brain. Patients had five treatment sessions per week.
The researchers found that transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy resulted in significant improvement in outcome measures of freezing of gait. The benefits were seen for a week after treatment, providing a basis for further study and potential for transcranial magnetic stimulation to be another form of treatment to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Kim , Min Su, Hyuk Chang , Won, Cho, Jin Whan, Youn, Jinyoung , Kim, Yun Kwan, Woong Kim, Sun, Kim, Yun-Hee. “Efficacy of cumulative high-frequency rTMS on freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease” Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 521-530, 2015.
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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD