Current Evidence on the Potential Therapeutic Applications of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review of the Literature [Review]

SOURCE: Neurologia. 37(3):199-215, 2022 Apr.

AUTHORS: Leon Ruiz M; Sospedra M; Arce Arce S; Tejeiro-Martinez J; Benito-Leon J

INTRODUCTION: A growing number of studies have evaluated the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for the symptomatic treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS: We performed a PubMed search for articles, recent books, and recommendations from the most relevant clinical practice guidelines and scientific societies regarding the use of TMS as symptomatic treatment in MS.

CONCLUSIONS: Excitatory electromagnetic pulses applied to the affected cerebral hemisphere allow us to optimise functional brain activity, including the transmission of nerve impulses through the demyelinated corticospinal pathway. Various studies into TMS have safely shown statistically significant improvements in spasticity, fatigue, lower urinary tract dysfunction, manual dexterity, gait, and cognitive deficits related to working memory in patients with MS; however, the exact level of
evidence has not been defined as the results have not been replicated in a sufficient number of controlled studies. Further well-designed, randomised, controlled clinical trials involving a greater number of patients are warranted to attain a higher level of evidence in order to recommend the appropriate use of TMS in MS patients across the board. TMS acts as an adjuvant with other symptomatic and immunomodulatory treatments. Additional studies should specifically investigate the effect of conventional repetitive TMS on fatigue in these patients, something that has yet to see the light of day.