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Effect of Regional Brain Activity Following Repeat Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in SCA3: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial.

Cerebellum 2024 April 2
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a noninvasive neuroregulatory technique used to treat neurodegenerative diseases, holds promise for spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) treatment, although its efficacy and mechanisms remain unclear. This study aims to observe the short-term impact of cerebellar rTMS on motor function in SCA3 patients and utilize resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) to assess potential therapeutic mechanisms. Twenty-two SCA3 patients were randomly assigned to receive actual rTMS (AC group, n = 11, three men and eight women; age 32-55 years) or sham rTMS (SH group, n = 11, three men and eight women; age 26-58 years). Both groups underwent cerebellar rTMS or sham rTMS daily for 15 days. The primary outcome measured was the ICARS scores and parameters for regional brain activity. Compared to baseline, ICARS scores decreased more significantly in the AC group than in the SH group after the 15-day intervention. Imaging indicators revealed increased Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuation (ALFF) values in the posterior cerebellar lobe and cerebellar tonsil following AC stimulation. This study suggests that rTMS enhances motor functions in SCA3 patients by modulating the excitability of specific brain regions and associated pathways, reinforcing the potential clinical utility of rTMS in SCA3 treatment. The Chinese Clinical Trial Registry identifier is ChiCTR1800020133.

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