Movement disorders are chronic progressive neurodegenerative diseases that affect millions of people in the United States. Movement disorders often cause significant suffering, functional impairment, and decreased quality of life in individuals affected. Often, there is a heavy burden on families and caretakers, as well. In addition to changes in the motor system and mobility, most movement disorders are now recognized to be complex conditions with prominent non-motor manifestations including neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive decline (dementia). First developed as a treatment for depression, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been shown to be a valuable adjunctive therapeutic modality for many movement disorders. In many cases, rTMS can alleviate both motor and non-motor symptoms.
Numerous studies investigating rTMS in various movement disorders such as Parkinson disease, dystonia, Tourette’s syndrome, and Huntington disease show promising results in reducing the disabling symptoms of these illnesses. To treat movement disorders, rTMS is administered over the scalp, causing changes in the underlying neuronal tissue. With the advent of deep rTMS, both the cortex (the layer of the brain closest to the scalp) and deeper structures (for example the basal ganglia) can be influenced. Depending upon the frequency of magnetic pulses delivered (high frequency rTMS or low frequency rTMS), rTMS either increases or decreases neuronal excitability in targeted areas, resulting in symptomatic improvement. In addition to alleviating depression in patients with movement disorders, TMS has been demonstrated to improve gait, reduce tics and dyskinesias, suppress tremor, enhance cognition, improve vocal functioning, and decrease dystonia and spasticity. The optimal rTMS parameters for each disorder are a current area of active research. At Pacific Center for Neurostimulation, we take a patient centered approach to work with individuals, their family members, and referring providers to create the best treatment plan possible. Contact us today to discuss how you or your loved one could benefit from rTMS.