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Interventional repetitive I-wave transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): the dimension of stimulation duration

Elsevier Inc.
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2010.12.003
  • Tms
  • I-Wave Intervention
  • Homeostatic Plasticity
  • Design


Background A range of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) techniques are now available to modulate human corticomotor excitability and plasticity. One presumably critical aspect of these interventions is their duration of application. Objective In the current study, we investigated whether doubling the duration of an intervention would offer any additional benefit, or invoke self-limiting mechanisms controlling corticomotor excitability or synaptic plasticity. Methods We compared (in a cross-over design) corticomotor excitability (to the first dorsal interosseous muscle) during and after a 15-minute (I15) and 30-minute (I30) TMS intervention targeting indirect (I-) wave interaction (iTMS). The interventions consisted of equi-intensity paired stimuli with an interpulse interval (IPI) of 1.5 milliseconds, corresponding to I-wave periodicity, delivered at a frequency of 0.2 Hz. Results During both the I15 and I30 interventions, paired-pulse (I-wave) motor evoked potential (iMEP) amplitude significantly increased (by 98.3% and 120.6%, respectively, last versus first minute, P = .001). The increase for I30 occurred in the first 15 minutes, and there was no further change during the remainder of the intervention. Both interventions were equally effective overall. Postintervention, single-pulse MEP amplitude increased by a mean of 91% and 106% (I15 and I30, respectively, P < .01) with no significant difference between interventions. Conclusions We conclude that repetitive iTMS can increase corticomotor excitability after a relatively short intervention period of stimulation, and that a longer stimulation period has no additional benefit or detriment, perhaps as a result of the action of regulatory mechanisms.

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