1 Hz rTMS preconditioned by tDCS over the primary motor cortex in Parkinson’s disease: effects on bradykinesia of arm and hand
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To investigate whether a period of 1 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over M1 preconditioned by tDCS improves bradykinesia of the upper limb in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Fifteen patients with PD performed index finger, hand tapping and horizontal pointing movements as well as reach-to-grasp movements with either hand before (baseline conditions) and after a period of 1 Hz rTMS preconditioned by (1) sham, (2) anodal or (3) cathodal tDCS over the primary motor cortex contralateral to the more affected body side. Movement kinematics was analysed using an ultrasound-based motion analyser at baseline, immediately after and 30 min after each stimulation session. Dopaminergic medication was continued. Compared to baseline, 1 Hz rTMS significantly increased the frequency of index finger and hand tapping as well as horizontal pointing movements performed with the contralateral hand. Movement frequency increased up to 40% over 30 min after cessation of the stimulation. Preconditioning with cathodal tDCS, but not with anodal tDCS, reduced the effectiveness of 1 Hz rTMS to improve tapping and pointing movements. There was no significant increase of movement frequencies of the ipsilateral hand induced by 1 Hz rTMS preconditioned by either tDCS session. Movement kinematics of reach-to-grasp movements were not significantly influenced by either stimulation session. In PD the beneficial effects of 1 Hz rTMS over the primary motor cortex on bradykinesia of simple finger, hand and pointing movements is reduced by preconditioning with cathodal tDCS, but not with anodal tDCS. Preconditioning with tDCS is a powerful tool to modulate the behavioural effect of 1 Hz rTMS over the primary motor cortex in PD.