Sensory tricks and brain excitability in cervical dystonia: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study

Stefano Amadio, Elise Houdayer, Francesca Bianchi, Habtom Tesfaghebriel Tekle, Ivan Pietro Urban, Calogera Butera, Roberta Guerriero, Marco Cursi, Letizia Leocani, Giancarlo Comi, Ubaldo Del Carro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sensory tricks such as touching the face with fingertips often improve cervical dystonia [CD]. This study is to determine whether sensory tricks modulate motor cortex excitability, assessed by paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation [p-pTMS]. Methods: Eight patients with rotational CD underwent p-pTMS, at rest and when the sensory trick was applied. To test intracortical inhibition [ICI] and facilitation [ICF], the amplitude ratio between conditioned and unconditioned cortical motor evoked potentials was measured at several interstimulus intervals (ISI 1, 3, 15, and 20 ms) and compared with controls mimicking patients' sensory tricks. Results: At rest, a significant ICF enhancement was found at ISIs 15 through 20 in patients compared with controls, whereas no significant ICI changes were observed. Sensory tricks significantly reduced the abnormal ICF in patients and did not induce any change in controls. Conclusions: In our CD patients, sensory tricks seem to improve dystonia through an inhibitory effect on motor cortex excitability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1188
Number of pages4
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cervical dystonia
  • Intracortical facilitation
  • Intracortical inhibition
  • Sensory trick
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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