Theta-Burst Stimulation for Cognitive Enhancement in Parkinson’s Disease With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Trial
Frontiers in Neurology. 11 (no pagination), 2020. Article Number: 584374. Date of Publication: 21 Dec 2020.
Lang S.; Gan L.S.; Yoon E.J.; Hanganu A.; Kibreab M.; Cheetham J.; Hammer T.; Kathol I.; Sarna J.; Martino D.; Monchi O.
Mild cognitive impairment is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD-MCI) and has minimal treatment options.
In this double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled trial, we assessed the effect of repeated sessions of intermittent theta-burst stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on cognition and brain connectivity in subjects with PD-MCI.
Forty-one subjects were randomized to receive real (n = 21) or sham stimulation (n = 20). All subjects underwent neuropsychological assessments before, 1 day, and 1 month after stimulation. Subjects also underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging before and 48 h after stimulation. The primary outcome was the change in the cognitive domain (executive function, attention, memory, language, and visuospatial abilities) z-scores across time.
There was an insignificant effect on cognitive domain z-scores across time when comparing real with sham stimulation and correcting for multiple comparisons across cognitive domains (p > 0.05 Bonferroni correction). However, the real stimulation group demonstrated a trend toward improved executive functioning scores at the 1-month follow-up compared with sham (p < 0.05 uncorrected). After real stimulation, the connectivity of the stimulation site showed decreased connectivity to the left caudate head. There was no change in connectivity within or between the stimulation network (a network of cortical regions connected to the stimulation site) and the striatal network. However, higher baseline connectivity between the stimulation network and the striatal network was associated with improved executive function scores at 1 month.
These results suggest that intermittent theta-burst stimulation over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in subjects with PD-MCI has minimal effect on cognition compared with sham, although there were trends toward improved executive function. This intervention may be more effective in subjects with higher baseline connectivity between the stimulation network and the striatal network. This trial supports further investigation focusing on executive function and incorporating connectivity-based targeting.