Cerebellar Intermittent Theta-Burst Stimulation Combined with Vestibular Rehabilitation Improves Gait and Balance in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: a Preliminary Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Marco Tramontano, Maria Grazia Grasso, Silvia Soldi, Elias Paolo Casula, Sonia Bonnì, Sara Mastrogiacomo, Alessia D’Acunto, Francesco Porrazzini, Carlo Caltagirone, Giacomo Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Difficulties in gait and balance disorders are among the most common mobility limitations in multiple sclerosis (MS), mainly due to a damage of cerebellar circuits. Moreover, the cerebellum plays a critical role in promoting new motor tasks, which is an essential function for neurorehabilitation. In this study, we investigated the effects of cerebellar intermittent theta burst stimulation (c-iTBS), a high-frequency rTMS protocol able to increase cerebellar activity, on gait and balance in a sample of 20 hospitalized participants with MS, undergoing vestibular rehabilitation (VR), an exercise-based program primarily designed to reduce vertigo and dizziness, gaze instability, and/or imbalance and falls in MS. Patients were assigned to receive either c-iTBS or sham iTBS before being treated with VR during 2 weeks. VR consisted of two types of training: gaze stability and postural stability exercises. The primary outcome measure was the change from baseline in the Tinetti Balance and Gait scale (TBG). The secondary outcome measures were changes from baseline in Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Two Minute Walking Test (2MWT), and Timed 25-ft walk test (T25FW) scales. MS patients treated with c-iTBS-VR showed a significant improvement in the TBG as compared to patients treated with sham iTBS-VR. Moreover, MS patients in the c-iTBS groups showed better performances in the vestibular-ocular reflex exercises. Combined c-iTBS and VR improves gait and balance abilities more than standard VR treatment in MS patients with a high level of disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-901
Number of pages5
JournalCerebellum
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Gait and balance
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Plasticity
  • TMS
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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