Bilateral transcranial magnetic stimulation of the supplementary motor area in children with Tourette syndrome

Cynthia K. Kahl, Adam Kirton, Tamara Pringsheim, Paul E. Croarkin, Ephrem Zewdie, Rose Swansburg, James Wrightson, Lisa Marie Langevin, Frank P. Macmaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aim: To explore the feasibility and possible effects of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) delivered to the supplementary motor area (SMA) on tic severity and motor system neurophysiology in children with Tourette syndrome. Method: Ten children with Tourette syndrome (eight males, two females; 9–15y) participated in this open-label, phase 1 clinical trial. Treatment consisted of 1800 low-frequency (1Hz) neuronavigated robotic rTMS (100% resting motor threshold) to the SMA, bilaterally for 15 sessions. The primary outcome was a change in Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) total score from baseline to posttreatment. Secondary outcome measures included changes in magnetic resonance spectroscopy metabolite concentrations, TMS neurophysiology measures, TMS motor maps, and clinical assessments (anxiety, depression) from baseline to the end of treatment. Results: The YGTSS score decreased from baseline after treatment (p<0.001; Cohen's d=2.9). All procedures were well-tolerated. Interpretation: Robot-driven, neuronavigated bilateral rTMS of the SMA is feasible in children with Tourette syndrome and appears to reduce tic severity. What this paper adds Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is feasible to use in children with Tourette syndrome. rTMS is tolerated by children with Tourette syndrome. Precise targeting of the supplementary motor area using functional magnetic resonance imaging is also feasible in these children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-815
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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