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Int J Neurosci. 2019 Sep 13:1-7. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2019.1663189. [Epub ahead of print]

Is the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation influenced by baseline severity of fatigue symptom in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Yang G1,2,3, Gu R1,3,4, Kubo J5, Kakuda W1.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, School of Medicine, International University of Health and Welfare , Chiba , Japan.
Department of Spinal and Neural Function Reconstruction, Beijing Bo Ai Hospital, China Rehabilitation Research Center , Beijing , China.
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Capital Medical University , Beijing , China.
Orthopedic and Orthopedic Rehabilitation Department, Beijing Bo Ai Hospital, China Rehabilitation Research Center , Beijing , China.
Department of Neurology and Stroke Center, Southern Tohoku Research Institute for Neuroscience, Southern Tohoku General Hospital , Fukushima , Japan.


Objectives: Recently, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been therapeutically applied for patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). However, it is still unclear which clinical factors could influence the efficacy of rTMS for ME patients. The purpose of this study is to clarify whether baseline severity of fatigue symptom would influence the efficacy of rTMS applied for ME patients. Methods: Twenty-two patients with ME were studied. Each patient was hospitalized to receive 6-8 sessions of rTMS. In this study, high-frequency rTMS of 10 Hz was applied over prefrontal cortex. To evaluate the severity of fatigue symptom, Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) score and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) rate were applied before and after rTMS application. Based on the BFI score before rTMS, the patients were divided into two groups: 'severe group' (n = 9) and 'mild group' (n = 13). We compared the extent of the improvements of fatigue symptom between two groups. Results: In severe group, compared to before rTMS, VAS rate was significantly lower not only at discharge but also 2 weeks after discharge. Similarly, mild group also showed significant decrease in VAS rate at the same timepoints. However, the extent of VAS rate change did not differ between two groups. In addition, no significant correlation between baseline score of BFI and the changes in VAS rate was indicated. Conclusions: It can be concluded that rTMS can improve fatigue symptom in ME patients regardless of baseline severity of fatigue symptom. It is expected that rTMS can be a novel therapeutic intervention for ME patients.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; fatigue; myalgic encephalomyelitis; neuromodulation

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