Efficacy of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials

SOURCE: eClinicalMedicine. 52 (no pagination), 2022. Article Number: 101589.


AUTHORS: Zhang W.; Deng B.; Xie F.; Zhou H.; Guo J.-F.; Jiang H.; Sim A.; Tang B.; Wang Q.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that positively regulates the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Although, most reviews and meta-analysis have shown that rTMS intervention is effective in
treating motor symptoms and depression, very few have used randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to analyse the efficacy of this intervention in PD. We aimed to review RCTs of rTMS in patients with PD to assess the efficacy of rTMS on motor and non-motor function in patients with PD.

METHOD(S): In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched PubMed, MEDLINE and Web of Science databases for RCTs on rTMS in PD published between January 1, 1988 to January 1, 2022. Eligible studies included sham-controlled RCTs that used rTMS stimulation for motor or non-motor symptoms in PD. RCTs not focusing on the efficacy of rTMS in PD were excluded. Summary data were extracting from those RCTs by two investigators independently. We then calculated standardised mean difference with random-effect models. The main outcome included motor and
non-motor examination of scales that were used in PD motor or non-motor assessment. This study was registered with PROSPERO, CRD42022329633.

FINDING(S): Fourteen studies with 469 patients met the criteria for our meta-analysis. Twelve eligible studies with 381 patients were pooled to analyse the efficacy of rTMS on motor function improvement. The effect size on motor scale scores was 0.51 (P < 0.0001) and were not distinctly
heterogeneous (I<sup>2</sup> = 29%). Five eligible studies with 202 patients were collected to evaluate antidepressant-like effects. The effect size on depression scale scores was 0.42 (P = 0.004), and were not distinctly heterogeneous (I<sup>2</sup> = 25%), indicating a significant anti-depressive effect (P = 0.004). The results suggest that high-frequency of rTMS on primary motor cortex (M1) is effective in improving motor symptoms; while the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) may be a potentially effective area in alleviating depressive symptom.

INTERPRETATION(S): The findings suggest that rTMS could be used as a possible adjuvant therapy for PD mainly to improve motor symptoms, but could have potential efficacy on depressive symptoms of PD. However, further investigation is needed.