In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness of high frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HFMS) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Researchers suggested that HFMS improves freezing of gait (FOG) in these patients.
Parkinson's disease (PD) affects brain cells. The abilities controlled by these cells are lost, leaving patients with symptoms such as tremors. Freezing of gait (FOG) is also a common symptom of PD. FOG means that patients sometimes feel that their feet are “stuck to the floor as if held by magnets” when trying to walk. It is present in 21 to 27% of early patients and in 80% of patients in the late stages of the disease. It is also the major risk factor for falls and therefore decreases movement and quality of life. Prior studies showed that FOG is associated with a specific area of the brain called the motor area.
HFMS has been used to treat different mental disorders. Prior studies showed that it can be used in patients with PD. However, too little is known about HFMS targeting the motor area to treat FOG in these patients.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 30 patients with PD. These patients were assigned to receive 10 sessions of HFMS or placebo (treatment with no effect on the body) in the motor area. Patients were assessed at the start, after the 5th and 10th session, and then 2 and 4 weeks after the last session.
Patients treated with HFMS had a significantly decreased FOG after the 10th session and at the 4 weeks follow-up. Significant improvements were seen in all the assessments in the HFMS group. No significant improvements were seen in the placebo group.
The bottom line
This study concluded that HFMS over the motor area improves the freezing of gait symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease.
The fine print
This study had a very small number of participants. Also, patients were followed up in an outpatient setting. Therefore, they could not be followed during all FOG episodes. This might have affected the results. Further, larger studies are needed for stronger evidence.
Published By :
Parkinsonism & related disorders
Oct 11, 2019
If you sign up for Medivizor, you'll receive PERSONALIZED updates that are JUST FOR YOU. Want to give it a try?