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Neurosci Lett. 2004 Jan 23;355(1-2):85-8.

Short-term high-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation decreases human motor cortex excitability.

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Human Brain Research Center, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Human and Brain Research Center, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


Several previous studies have shown that periods of changed sensory input can have after effects on the excitability of the corticospinal system. Here we test whether the parameters of peripheral stimulation conventionally used to treat pain with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS: 90 Hz) also have modulatory effects on the motor system. We measured the amplitude of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by the focal transcranial magnetic stimulation in the right abductor pollicis brevis and first dorsal interosseous muscles before and after 30 min TENS over the right thenar eminence. In addition, we evaluated tactile and 2-point discrimination thresholds at the same site. TENS transiently reduced MEPs and increased sensory thresholds. This suggests that short-term TENS might have an inhibitory effect on both the sensory and motor systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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