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Brain Topogr. 2012 Jul;25(3):241-7. doi: 10.1007/s10548-012-0218-1. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Effect of 1 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the auditory cortex on audiometry and otoacustic emissions.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy III, University of Ulm, Leimgrubenweg 12-14, 89075 Ulm, Germany.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) at low frequencies (≤1 Hz) delivered to the primary motor cortex for 15 min or longer has been shown to reduce motor cortex excitability. Over the visual cortex, 1 Hz rTMS led to increased phosphene thresholds and over the auditory cortex rTMS reduced auditory evoked potentials. rTMS above the auditory or temporo-parietal cortex has also been reported to reduce the severity of auditory hallucinations and the perception of tinnitus. However, possible unwanted effects on hearing function have not yet been investigated systematically. 12 right-handed normal hearing subjects (5 male, mean age 28.2 ± 4.3) received a single session of 18 min 1 Hz rTMS at 90% resting motor threshold intensity using an established coil positioning method targeting the Heschl's area of the left superior temporal gyrus. Standard pure tone audiometry and distortion-products otoacustic emissions (DPOAE) were performed before and immediately after stimulation. The main finding was that one session of 1 Hz rTMS over the temporal cortex modified neither the auditory threshold meaningfully nor the presence of DPOAE in healthy subjects. In conclusion, we found in this pilot approach no obvious indication for auditory dysfunctions due to direct electromagnetic stimulation of the superior temporal gyrus after one session of rTMS in healthy controls that may be interpreted as unwanted side effects. Nevertheless monitoring of auditory functions is strongly recommended in future clinical trials stimulating the auditory cortex, as this has not been done systematically in the past.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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