SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • blepharospasm;
  • dystonia;
  • plasticity;
  • clinical trials randomized controlled;
  • blink reflex

ABSTRACT

Our previous work showed a beneficial therapeutic effect on blepharospasm using slow repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which produces a long-term depression (LTD)-like effect. High-frequency supraorbital electrical stimulation, asynchronous with the R2 component of the blink reflex, can also induce LTD-like effects on the blink reflex circuit in healthy subjects. Patients with blepharospasm have reduced inhibition of their blink recovery curves; therefore, a LTD-like intervention might normalize the blink reflex recovery (BRR) and have a favorable therapeutic effect. This is a randomized, sham-controlled, observer-blinded prospective study. In 14 blepharospasm patients, we evaluated the effects of high-frequency supraorbital stimulation on three separate treatment days. We applied 28 trains of nine stimuli, 400 Hz, either before or after the R2 or used sham stimulation. The primary outcome was the blink rate, number of spasms rated by a blinded physician and patient rating before, immediately after and 1 hour after stimulation while resting, reading, and talking; secondary outcome was the BRR. Stimulation “before” and “after” the R2 both showed a similar improvement as sham stimulation in physician rating, but patients felt significantly better with the before condition. Improvement in recovery of the blink reflex was noted only in the before condition. Clinical symptoms differed in the three baseline conditions (resting, reading, and talking). Stimulation before R2 increased inhibition in trigeminal blink reflex circuits in blepharospasm toward normal values and produced subjective, but not objective, improvement. Inhibition of the blink reflex pathway by itself appeared to be insufficient for a useful therapeutic effect. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society