Effects of theta burst stimulation protocols on phosphene threshold

Michele Franca, Giacomo Koch, Hitoshi Mochizuki, Ying Zu Huang, John C. Rothwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We investigated the effects on occipital cortex, of two newly developed methods of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS): continuous and intermittent theta burst stimulation (cTBS and iTBS), that lead to long lasting changes in excitability when applied over primary motor cortex. Methods: Phosphene threshold to a single TMS pulse was measured before and after application of either continuous or intermittent theta burst stimulation (cTBS/iTBS; 600 total pulses at 80% phosphene threshold). Results: In our cohort, cTBS increased phosphene threshold by an average of 10%. In contrast, iTBS, which transiently increases motor cortex excitability, had no effect on phosphene threshold. Conclusions: cTBS can be applied successfully to non-motor areas of cortex, but iTBS may need modification to produce maximal effects. Significance: cTBS maybe a new useful tool in disorders characterized by an abnormal state of activity of the visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1808-1813
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Phosphene threshold
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Theta burst stimulation
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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