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Keywords:

  • cervical dystonia;
  • sensory trick;
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation;
  • intracortical inhibition;
  • intracortical facilitation

ABSTRACT

Background

Sensory tricks such as touching the face with fingertips often improve cervical dystonia [CD]. This study is to determine whether sensory tricks modulate motor cortex excitability, assessed by paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation [p-pTMS].

Methods

Eight patients with rotational CD underwent p-pTMS, at rest and when the sensory trick was applied. To test intracortical inhibition [ICI] and facilitation [ICF], the amplitude ratio between conditioned and unconditioned cortical motor evoked potentials was measured at several interstimulus intervals (ISI 1, 3, 15, and 20 ms) and compared with controls mimicking patients' sensory tricks.

Results

At rest, a significant ICF enhancement was found at ISIs 15 through 20 in patients compared with controls, whereas no significant ICI changes were observed. Sensory tricks significantly reduced the abnormal ICF in patients and did not induce any change in controls.

Conclusions

In our CD patients, sensory tricks seem to improve dystonia through an inhibitory effect on motor cortex excitability. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society