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Use and safety of a new repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulator.

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  • 1Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


In order to test a new repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulator, the Dantec MagPro, we administered transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at 1 Hz and 125% of motor threshold for an average of 204 s (until the coil temperature reached 40 degrees C) and 20 Hz stimulation at 100% of motor threshold for 2 s every minute for 10 min, on different days to 10 healthy volunteers. We stimulated 6 scalp positions (primary motor area (M1) and sites 5 cm anterior and posterior on each hemisphere) with an 8-shaped coil. We tested immediate and delayed memory, verbal fluency, prolactin levels and EEG at the beginning of the study and after stimulation on each day. No abnormalities were found. Motor evoked potentials evoked with 1 Hz stimulation diminished progressively in amplitude, and 1 Hz stimulation of M1 caused inhibition lasting at least 1 min in 3 of 4 subjects who were tested with 0.1 Hz stimulation before and after the 1 Hz stimulation period. This did not occur with 20 Hz stimulation. Finger tapping frequency was tested at the beginning of the study and after TMS at each scalp site. Finger tapping rate data from 6 additional subjects who were stimulated in an identical fashion with a different stimulator were also analyzed. There was an increase in tapping rate after TMS which was independent of scalp site. This was most pronounced with 1 Hz stimulation at 125% of threshold and reached statistical significance in the hand contralateral to the stimulation. The results of this study indicate that rTMS with the MagPro stimulator is safe at specific combinations of intensity, frequency and train duration.

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