The study of the physiological effects underlying brain response to transcranial magnetic stimulation is important to understand its impact on neurorehabilitation. We aim to analyze the impact of a transcranial magnetic stimulation protocol, the continuous theta burst (cTBS), on human neurophysiology, particularly on contralateral motor rhythms. cTBS was applied in 20 subjects over the primary motor cortex. We recorded brain electrical activity pre- and post-cTBS with electroencephalography both at rest and while performing motor tasks, to evaluate changes in brain oscillatory patterns such as mu and beta rhythms. Moreover, we measured motor-evoked potentials before and after cTBS to assess its impact on brain's excitability. On the hemisphere contralateral to the protocol, we did observe a significant increase in mu (p = 0.027) and beta (p = 0.006) rhythms from pre- to post-cTBS, at the beginning of arm elevation. The topology of action planning and motor execution suggests that cTBS produced an inhibitory effect that propagated to the contralateral hemisphere, thereby precluding the expected/desired excitation for therapy purposes. This novel approach provides support for the notion that this protocol induces inhibitory changes in contralateral motor rhythms, by decreasing desynchronization, contradicting the ipsilateral inhibition vs. contralateral disinhibition hypothesis. Our results have implications for personalized cTBS usage as a rehabilitation intervention, suggesting that an unexpected propagation of inhibition can occur.
- Continuous theta burst stimulation
- MOTOR CORTEX
- NEURAL ACTIVITY
- TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation