In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-RTMS) on patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and dysphagia (problems with swallowing). Researchers suggested that HF-RTMS improves swallowing in these patients.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic disorder that affects brain cells. The body functions controlled by these cells will also be affected, such as muscle function and balance. Dysphagia is a common symptom of patients with Parkinson disease. It can present in half of these patients.
The available dysphagia treatments are only of limited effectiveness. HF-RTMS consists of a non-invasive electric stimulation delivered by a device placed in a specific area of the brain. Prior studies showed that this treatment is associated with positive outcomes in dysphagia after a stroke. However, it is still not clear how HF-RTMS could help patients with PD and dysphagia.
Methods & findings
This study included 33 patients with PD and dysphagia. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either HF-RTMS or placebo (a treatment with no effect on the body). HF-RTMS was received for 10 days (5 days per week) followed by 5 sessions every month for 3 months. Patients were assessed before and after the last session and 3 months later.
There was a significant improvement in the HF-RTMS group regarding swallowing time for solid foods when compared to placebo. Improvements were also seen in other movement symptoms in the HF-RTMS group only.
The bottom line
This study concluded that HF-RTMS improves dysphagia in patients with Parkinson's disease.
The fine print
This study included a small number of participants. Larger studies are needed for stronger evidence.
Published By :
Neurorehabilitation and neural repair
May 10, 2019
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