Treatment and Physiology in Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia: Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Uncover the Mechanisms of Action

  • Aparna Wagle Shukla
  • David E. Vaillancourt
Movement Disorders (M Okun, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Movement Disorders


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has served as an important technological breakthrough in the field of the physiology of movement disorders over the last three decades. TMS has grown popular owing to the ease of application as well as its painless and noninvasive character. The technique has provide important insights into understanding the pathophysiology of movement disorders, particularly Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. The basic applications have included the study of motor cortex excitability, functioning of excitatory and inhibitory circuits, study of interactions between sensory and motor systems, and the plasticity response of the brain. TMS has also made important contributions to understanding the response to treatments such as dopaminergic medications, botulinum toxin injections, and deep brain stimulation surgery. This review summarizes the knowledge gained to date with TMS in Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and highlights the current challenges in the use of TMS technology.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation Parkinson’s disease Dystonia 



This work was supported by the University of Florida, Clinical and Translation Science Institute sponsored NIH KL2 TR000065 (Aparna Wagle Shukla), NIH R01 NS052318 (David E. Vaillancourt), and R01 NS075012 (David E. Vaillancourt), the Bachmann-Straus Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation (David E. Vaillancourt) and Tyler’s Hope Foundation (David E. Vaillancourt).

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

AparnaWagle Shukla has pending (not pending) but received grants from the Clinical and Translation Science Institute CTSI (KL2) and the Dystonia Coalition, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.

David E. Vaillancourt has received an NIH grant (R01 NS52318, R01 NS58487) and a grant from the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation and Tyler’s Hope Foundation. He has also received board membership payments as an NIH study section member and consultancy fees from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has also received honoraria from the University of Colorado and the University of Pittsburgh.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology and Center for Movement Disorders and NeurorestorationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied Physiology and KinesiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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