Remote effects of intermittent theta burst stimulation of the human pharyngeal motor system.

Inflammation Sciences Research Group, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
European Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.75). 05/2012; 36(4):2493-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08157.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) is a novel, non-invasive form of brain stimulation capable of facilitating excitability of the human primary motor cortex with therapeutic potential in the treatment of neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of iTBS on cortical properties in the human pharyngeal motor system. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-evoked pharyngeal motor responses were recorded via a swallowed intra-luminal catheter and used to assess motor cortical pathways to the pharynx in both hemispheres before and for up to 90 min after iTBS in 15 healthy adults (nine male/six female, 22-59 years old). Active/sham iTBS comprised 600 intermittent repetitive TMS pulses, delivered in a double-blind pseudo-randomised order over each hemisphere on separate days at least 1 week apart. Abductor pollicis brevis (APB) recordings were used as control. Hemispheric interventional data were compared with sham using repeated-measures anova. iTBS was delivered at an average intensity of 43±1% of stimulator output. Compared with sham, iTBS to the hemisphere with stronger pharyngeal projections induced increased responses only in the contralateral weaker projection 60-90 min post-iTBS (maximum 54±19%, P≤0.007), with no change in stronger hemisphere responses. By contrast, iTBS to weaker projections had no significant effects (P=0.39) on either hemisphere. APB responses similarly did not change significantly (P=0.78) across all study arms. We conclude that iTBS can induce remote changes in corticobulbar excitability. While further studies will clarify the extent of these changes, iTBS holds promise as a potential treatment for dysphagia after unilateral brain damage.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Oropharyngeal Dysphagia (OD) is both underestimated and underdiagnosed as a cause of malnutrition and respiratory complications following stroke. OD occurs in more than 50% of stroke patients. Aspiration pneumonia (AP) occurs in up to 20% of acute stroke patients and is a major cause of mortality after discharge. Systematic screening for OD should be performed on every patient with stroke before starting oral feeding, followed, if appropriate by clinical and instrumental (videofluroscopy and/or fiberoptic endoscopy) assessment. Bolus modification with adaptation of texture and viscosity of solids and fluids and postural adjustments should be part of the minimal treatment protocol, but they do not change the impaired swallow physiology nor promote recovery of damaged neural swallow networks in stroke patients. To this purpose, two new neurostimulation approaches are being developed to stimulate cortical neuroplasticity to recover swallowing function: (i) those aimed at stimulating the peripheral oropharyngeal sensory system by chemical, physical or electrical stimulus; and (ii) those aimed at directly stimulating the pharyngeal motor cortex, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). The study of Park et al. in this issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility evaluated the effect of rTMS in dysphagic stroke patients and showed a marked improvement in swallow physiology. Other studies also using rTMS showed plastic changes in pharyngeal motor cortical areas relevant to swallowing function. If further randomized controlled trials confirm these initial results, the neurorehabilitation strategies will be introduced to clinical practice sooner rather than later, improving the recovery of dysphagic stroke patients. Progress at last.
    Neurogastroenterology and Motility 03/2013; · 2.94 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The neural mechanisms underlying the development of the most common intrinsic sleep disorders are not completely known. Therefore, there is a great need for noninvasive tools which can be used to better understand the pathophysiology of these diseases. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers a method to noninvasively investigate the functional integrity of the motor cortex and its corticospinal projections in neurologic and psychiatric diseases. To date, TMS studies have revealed cortical and corticospinal dysfunction in several sleep disorders, with cortical hyperexcitability being a characteristic feature in some disorders (i.e., the restless legs syndrome) and cortical hypoexcitability being a well-established finding in others (i.e., obstructive sleep apnea syndrome narcolepsy). Several research groups also have applied TMS to evaluate the effects of pharmacologic agents, such as dopaminergic agent or wake-promoting substances. Our review will focus on the mechanisms underlying the generation of abnormal TMS measures in the different types of sleep disorders, the contribution of TMS in enhancing the understanding of their pathophysiology, and the potential diagnostic utility of TMS techniques. We also briefly discussed the possible future implications for improving therapeutic approaches.
    Sleep Medicine 08/2013; · 3.49 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Swallowing is a complex neuromuscular task that is processed within multiple regions of the human brain. Rehabilitative treatment options for dysphagia due to neurological diseases are limited. Because the potential for adaptive cortical changes in compensation of disturbed swallowing is recognized, neuromodulation techniques like transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) are currently considered as a treatment option. Here we evaluate the effect of tDCS on cortical swallowing network activity and behavior. In a double-blind crossover study, anodal tDCS (20 min, 1 mA) or sham stimulation was administered over the left or right swallowing motor cortex in 21 healthy subjects in separate sessions. Cortical activation was measured using magnetoencephalography (MEG) before and after tDCS during cued "simple", "fast" and "challenged" swallow tasks with increasing levels of difficulty. Swallowing response times and accuracy were measured. Significant bilateral enhancement of cortical swallowing network activation was found in the theta frequency range after left tDCS in the fast swallow task (p = 0.006) and following right tDCS in the challenged swallow task (p = 0.007), but not after sham stimulation. No relevant behavioral effects were observed on swallow response time, but swallow precision improved after left tDCS (p < 0.05). Anodal tDCS applied over the swallowing motor cortex of either hemisphere was able to increase bilateral swallow-related cortical network activation in a frequency specific manner. These neuroplastic effects were associated with subtle behavioral gains during complex swallow tasks in healthy individuals suggesting that tDCS deserves further evaluation as a treatment tool for dysphagia.
    NeuroImage 06/2013; · 6.25 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Sep 17, 2014