TMS – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – involves stimulating specific areas of the brain to help improve the brain’s ability to perform motor functions. TMS therapy is a non-invasive treatment that does not require sedation. When explaining what TMS therapy is, the best way to describe it is as physical therapy for the brain. People receiving TMS treatments can go to appointments on their own and return to work or home afterward. Unlike other Parkinson’s treatments, TMS for Parkinson’s has very few, if any, side effects.
How Does TMS for Parkinson’s Help?
Research into using TMS therapy as part of Parkinson’s treatment has shown improved motor movements when combined with regular aerobic exercise. Other research has indicated that stimulating two regions of the brain’s premotor associative cortex, instead of just one, has resulted in reduced axial symptoms associated with Parkinson’s.
The studies indicate that TMS for Parkinson’s treatments helps prolong the cortical silent period. The period of improvement lasted for approximately one month in the research study participants. As such, patients who receive ongoing TMS therapy, when combined with aerobic exercise, could notice marked improvements that last much longer.
How TMS Helps Prolong the Cortical Silent Period
One of the studies examined whether TMS could help improve the cortical silent period with study participants who underwent regular aerobic exercise and TMS therapy. Part of the participants was given TMS therapy, and the other participants received simulated TMS therapy where it was not actually administered.
The study examined the effects of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) activity and kinase B signaling, which is a component of the brain’s neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to heal itself by creating new neural networks. Regular aerobic exercise was found to help improve motor response and enhance BDNF activity.
When TMS therapy was included as part of the treatment, it was found that TMS also helps improve motor responses and enhance BDNF activity. To determine the study’s outcome, participants had their BDNF activity levels monitored during the one-month study.
Their initial BDNF activity level was measured at the start of the study. It was again measured after two weeks of either receiving aerobic exercise for 40-minutes daily and TMS therapy treatments or just daily aerobic exercise. Participants had their BDNF activity levels checked again at one month, the end of the study.
At the start of the research study, there were no noticeable differences between participants who either received TMS therapy or simulated TMS therapy. However, what was of interest is BDNF activity and kinase B signaling increased in both study groups.
In those that received the simulated TMS therapy and just the aerobic exercise, there was an increase in the cortical silent period by almost 30%. In study participants that received both TMS therapy and aerobic exercise, there was an increase in the cortical silent period by almost 37%.
Study participants were re-evaluated one month after the study. Those that had received TMS therapy were still experiencing prolonged cortical silent periods that were noticeably longer than those who had received the simulated TMS therapy.
Another study into the effects of TMS for Parkinson’s focused on the brain’s premotor associative cortex. Study participants were divided into two groups. One group would receive TMS therapy on one region of the premotor associative cortex, and the other group would receive TMS therapy on two regions of the premotor associative cortex.
The study involved four weekly TMS therapy sessions for all study participants. Participants were evaluated at the start of the study and again at the end of the four weeks. The study concluded that participants who received multifocal TMS therapy had noticeably lower axial scores than participants who had just received TMS therapy in one region.
Both groups did experience prolonged cortical silent periods. However, those that received multifocal therapy had longer cortical silent periods compared to those that did not. At a one-month follow-up, participants that received the multifocal TMS therapy were still reporting significantly longer cortical silent periods compared to the other group.
TMS Therapy and Depressive Symptoms of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects movement, but it can also lead to changes in mood and behavior. One of the ways in which Parkinson’s can lead to depression is by reducing the levels of dopamine in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating mood. In addition, the chronic and progressive nature of the disease, as well as the impact it can have on daily activities, can also contribute to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
A more recent study has also found that TMS therapy can not only improve Parkinson’s motor symptoms but also may improve depressive symptoms associated with this disorder.
Why Is This Significant for Parkinson’s Patients?
These studies into TMS for Parkinson’s concluded that TMS therapy could help improve cortical silent periods and motor response. Furthermore, regular TMS therapy increases BDNF activity and kinase B signaling, which helps brain neuroplasticity and could potentially slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
In addition, when Parkinson’s patients receive multifocal TMS therapy and daily 40-minute aerobic exercise, there can be even more improvement in prolonged cortical silent periods and improved axial symptoms.
TMS Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease in Southern California
TMS therapy for Parkinson’s disease is safe, effective, and comfortable. TMS therapy has been approved by the FDA and provides a drug-free alternative to treating Parkinson’s. Most people notice improvement after two weeks of 4 to 5 treatment sessions per week.
TMS therapy is not only for Parkinson’s and can be effective for other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, and more.
If you are interested in learning more about TMS therapy or any of our other services, please contact Neuro Wellness Spa today to schedule a consultation.