Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tool in Various Types of Dementia

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Medicine. 10 (13) (no pagination), 2021. Article Number: 2875. Date of Publication: 01 Jul 2021.

AUTHORS: Antczak J.; Rusin G.; Slowik A.

ABSTRACT: Dementia is recognized as a healthcare and social burden and remains challenging in terms of proper diagnosis and treatment. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a diagnostic and therapeutic tool in various neurological diseases that noninvasively investigates cortical excitability and connectivity and can induce brain plasticity. This article reviews findings on TMS in common dementia types as well as therapeutic results. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by increased cortical excitability and reduced cortical inhibition, especially as mediated by cholinergic neurons and as documented by impairment of short latency inhibition (SAI). In vascular dementia, excitability is also increased. SAI may have various outcomes, which probably reflects its frequent overlap with AD. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is associated with SAI decrease. Motor cortical excitability is usually normal, reflecting the lack of corticospinal tract involvement. DLB and other dementia types are also characterized by impairment of short interval intracortical inhibition. In frontotemporal dementia, cortical excitability is increased, but SAI is normal. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has the potential to improve cognitive function. It has been extensively studied in AD, showing promising results after multisite stimulation. TMS with electroencephalography recording opens new possibilities for improving diagnostic accuracy; however, more studies are needed to support the existing data.