We're building a better ClinicalTrials.gov. Check it out and tell us what you think!
ClinicalTrials.gov Menu

50 Hz Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00977184
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 15, 2009
Results First Posted : December 27, 2012
Last Update Posted : December 27, 2012
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Mark Hallett, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:


  • In transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a device creates a short-lasting magnetic field which induces an electric current in the brain leading to a change in the activity of brain cells. There are different effects on the brain with different rates of stimulation. In a previous study in people with Parkinson's disease, repetitive TMS (rTMS) given at a particular rate temporarily improved their ability to walk. A faster rate of rTMS may be more effective in treating symptoms than the rate originally used.
  • This study will compare active rTMS to inactive (sham or Placebo) rTMS. Half of the people in this study will have active rTMS; the other half will have no brain stimulation with rTMS.


- To see if a faster rate of transcranial magnetic stimulation is a more effective treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease than the slower rates that have been studied.


  • Individuals between 40 and 80 years of age who have been diagnosed with mild or moderate Parkinson's disease.
  • Participants must currently be taking Sinemet or dopamine agonists drugs (e.g., bromocriptine, cabergoline, pergolide, pramipexole, ropinirole, apomorophine, and rotigotine), and are willing to continue their same treatments for the duration of the study.


  • This study requires 11 outpatient visits to the NIH Clinical Center over 6 weeks. Participants can also be admitted and stay as an inpatient in the NIH Clinical Center for the entire study period (for the 10 visits during the first weeks and the follow-up visit a month later).
  • Initial visit will consist of a physical examination; a test of participants' time to walk 10 meters; and questions about memory, mood, and quality of life. Participants should not take Parkinson's disease medications for 12 hours before this visit; once the examinations and tests are complete, participants will be able to take the medications. Researchers will repeat the tests 1 hour after participants take the medication.
  • TMS sessions: 8 TMS sessions (4 sessions per week) over 2 weeks. Each stimulation session will last half an hour. Half of the participants will receive active TMS; the other half will receive sham TMS.
  • The first 10 participants will have additional tests to study the safety of rapid TMS in patients with Parkinson's disease.
  • A day after completing the last TMS session, participants will repeat the same tests as the first visit before and after taking their medication as in the first assessment and respond to questions about mood, memory, and quality of life.
  • One month after completing the last TMS session, participants will repeat the same tests as the first visit before and after taking their medication.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Parkinson Disease Procedure: 50 HZ Repetitive TMS Procedure: Sham rTMS Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:


To demonstrate cumulative and long-lasting improvement of parkinsonian symptoms by 50 Hz rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) and its safety in Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients.

Study population:

Up to 30 PD patients in Hoehn and Yahr disease stage 2-4 while off medication will be enrolled. Patients must be receiving more than 300 mg of levodopa (including dopamine agonists) and have gait problems.


This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo (sham)-controlled study of 26 patients with PD in 2 groups (real versus sham stimulation). The study involves performance (8 interventions) of 50 Hz rTMS with large circular coil over the motor cortex on both sides of the brain. Assessment of PD symptoms with standard tests of motor function will be performed over a one-month period.

Outcome measure:

The primary endpoint include the changes in gait speed as assessed by the time it takes to walk 10 meters and the changes in bradykinesia as assessed by measuring the time it takes to do 10 combined hand and arm movements.

Secondary endpoints include the changes in the total, motor and activities of daily living Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 26 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Controlled Study of 50 Hz Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease
Study Start Date : September 2009
Actual Primary Completion Date : July 2010
Actual Study Completion Date : July 2010

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Real rTMS Procedure: 50 HZ Repetitive TMS
Sham Comparator: Sham rTMS Procedure: Sham rTMS

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Gait Speed [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1 day post rTMS ]
    Gait speed was assessed by measuring the time it takes to walk 10 meters. Subject's gait speed was measured while on medication and off medication for each group, i.e., real rTMS and sham rTMS. Two trials were averaged for each condition. Patients were instructed to walk fast without taking the risk of falling, wearing the same shoes and consistently using assistive devices if needed. Gait speed was measured at baseline and 1 day post intervention.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Bradykinesia [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1 day post rTMS ]
    Bradykinesia refers to the slowness in executing a movement. Bradykinesia was assessed by measuring the time in seconds it takes to do the following sequence, 10 times: 1) hand closing and opening while squeezing a ball 2) elbow flexion 3) hand closing and opening, and 4) elbow extension. Subjects were allowed to practice these hand and arm movements until performance appeared not to get faster, and then abstained from further practice to minimize learning effects. The time it takes subjects to execute the entire sequence 10 times with either the left or right arm/hand was measured. Means are reported for each group.

  2. Total UPDRS Score [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1 day post rTMS ]
    The Total Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) is an overall assessment scale that quantifies the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The total UPDRS score consists of mentation, behavior, mood, activities of daily living and motor components, and ranges from 0 (not affected) to 176 (most severely affected). The total UPDRS score is obtained from patient examination, interview and patient questionnaires.

  3. Motor UPDRS [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1 day post rTMS ]
    The Motor Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) includes only the motor assessment of the UPDRS (Part III) and examines speech, facial expression, tremor at rest, action tremor, rigidity, finger taps, hand movements, hand pronation and supination, leg agility, arising from chair, posture, gait, postural stability and body bradykinesia. The scores range from 0 (no motor impairment) to 108 (severe motor impairment). The Motor UPDRS was administered at baseline and at 1 day post rTMS or sham. Subjects were assessed on medication and off medication.

  4. Activities of Daily Living UPDRS [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1 day post rTMS ]
    The Activities of Daily Living Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (ADL UPDRS) is a self evaluation of the activities of daily living. The following variables are rated: speech, salivation, swallowing, handwriting, cutting food and handling utensils, dressing, hygiene, turning in bed, falling, freezing when walking, walking, tremor and sensory complaints. Each variable is rated on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe impairment). A total score for the ADL UPDRS ranges from 0 (no impairment) to 52 (severe impairment).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   40 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Men and women aged 40 to 80 years with DOPA-responsive PD

Hoehn and Yahr grade of 2 to 4 while off

Must be on a regimen including levodopa

Total dose of levodopa and dopamine agonists (using dopamine equivalents) has to be equal to or more than 300 milligrams per day

problems with walking and gait time for a 10-meter distance greater than six seconds or more


Any active psychiatric disease

History of seizures and epilepsy

Concurrent use of tricyclic antidepressants, neuroleptic agents, or any other licit or illicit drugs other than anti-parkinsonian agents that could lower the seizure threshold except for SSRI

Pallidotomy, implanted electrodes and generator for deep brain stimulation


Surgically or traumatically implanted foreign bodies such as a pacemaker, implanted medical pump, implanted hearing aids, metal plate in the skull, or metal implant in the skull or eyes (other than dental appliances or fillings) that may pose a physical hazard during TEP.

Study would cause undue risk or stress for reasons such as tendency to fall, excessive fatigue, general frailty, or excessive apprehensiveness.

Dementia as assessed by the Folstein's Mini-Mental Test Examination (MMSE less than or equal to 24/30) or mentally impaired patients having no capacity to provide their own consent (the physician establishing the diagnosis and applying UPDRS will evaluate patient's mental capacity using conventional clinical interview)

Unable to walk a 10-meter distance.

More than occasional falls, i.e. daily falls (corresponding to a score greater than or equal to 3 and more in UPDRS item 13), history of fall(s) with significant injuries, absence of postural response in the on and/or spontaneous loss of balance in the off condition (corresponding to a score of greater than or equal to 2 and greater than or equal to 3 in on/off condition, respectively, in UPDRS item 30)

Pregnancy is unusual in patients with PD, grade 2-4. Urine sample for the pregnancy test will be obtained in patients of childbearing potential prior to starting the 50 Hz rTMS and also at the initial interview after signing the consent form. Women of childbearing potential will be asked to take appropriate measures to prevent a pregnancy during the study.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00977184

Layout table for location information
United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: Mark Hallett, Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00977184    
Other Study ID Numbers: 090221
First Posted: September 15, 2009    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: December 27, 2012
Last Update Posted: December 27, 2012
Last Verified: November 2012
Keywords provided by Mark Hallett, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Parkinson's Disease
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Treatment Study
Parkinson Disease
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Parkinson Disease
Parkinsonian Disorders
Basal Ganglia Diseases
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Movement Disorders
Neurodegenerative Diseases