Objectives: The transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technique of threshold-tracking short-interval intracortical inhibition (T-SICI) has been proposed as a diagnostic tool for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Most of these studies have used a circular coil, whereas a figure-of-8 coil is usually recommended for paired-pulse TMS measurements. The aim of this study was to compare figure-of-8 and circular coils for T-SICI in the upper limb, with special attention to reproducibility, and the pain or discomfort experienced by the subjects. Methods: Twenty healthy subjects (aged: 45.5 ± 6.7, mean ± SD, 9 females, 11 males) underwent two examinations with each coil, in morning and afternoon sessions on the same day, with T-SICI measured at interstimulus intervals (ISIs) from 1−7 ms. After each examination the subjects rated degree of pain/discomfort from 0 to 10 using a numerical rating scale (NRS). Results: Mean T-SICI was higher for the figure-of-8 than for the circular coil at ISI of 2 ms (p < 0.05) but did not differ at other ISIs. Intra-subject variability did not differ between coils, but mean inhibition from 1−3.5 ms was less variable between subjects with the figure-of-8 coil (SD 7.2% vs. 11.2% RMT, p < 0.05), and no such recordings were without inhibition (vs. 6 with the circular coil). The subjects experienced less pain/discomfort with the figure-of-8 coil (mean NRS: 1.9 ± 1.28 vs 2.8 ± 1.60, p < 0.005). Discussion: The figure-of-8 coil may have better applicability in patients, due to the lower incidence of lack of inhibition in healthy subjects, and the lower experience of pain or discomfort.
Bibliografisk noteFunding Information:
The project received funding from the Lundbeck Foundation (grant R290-2018-751 ), the Aage & Johanne Louis-Hansens Foundation (J.nr. 18-2B-2454/L 445 ) , A.P. Møller and wife Chastine McKinney Møllers Foundation (grant ref. 17-L-0365 ) and the Independent Research Fund Denmark (grant ref. DFF 7025-00066 ). None of the funders had any role in the design, data collection, analysis or data interpretation, writing or publication decisions.
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