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Allan Wu, M.D.


The Wu Laboratory is dedicated to understanding the mechanisms and possible benefits of noninvasive brain stimulation in modulating symptoms in patients with movement disorders.  The basic hypothesis we investigate is that notion that dysfunction of the basal ganglia affects cortical networks which can be modulated through repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).  The Laboratory currently conducts several basic science and translation studies using TMS and has projects involving patients with Parkinson’s disease, atypical parkinsonism syndromes, and dystonia.


Brain mapping studies in Parkinson’s disease. One brain mapping study uses TMS to investigate the role of the motor cortex on the process of both action initiation and inhibition in patients with Parkinson’s disease as compared to control subjects.   Contact: Curtis 310-206-3356


Brain mapping studies of motor learning.  A second brain mapping study is using both fMRI and TMS to investigate the neural correlates of the contextual interference effect during motor learning. Contact: Dr Janice Lin


Clinical trial of repetitive TMS for treatment of motor and mood symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (MASTER-PD trial).  On the clinical side, we are conducting 2 studies on how rTMS can modulate specific symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other parkinsonian syndromes.  This field is advancing rapidly as demonstrated by the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of rTMS as a treatment for patients with severe depression.  Given increasing awareness of non-motor symptoms in PD such as depression, rTMS may similarly help depression symptoms in PD patients with depression.  Further, previous studies have suggested benefits from rTMS on motor symptoms in PD. Since rTMS is noninvasive and an outpatient procedure, rTMS may offer a potential alternative to deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery for PD patients. However, it remains uncertain how best to apply rTMS for treatment of PD symptoms would be.


Effects of repetitive TMS on cortical excitability and behavior in patients with PSP and CBD parkinsonian syndromes. In the last year, the laboratory has been investigating the short-term effects of different methods of rTMS on motor behavior, mood ratings, and brain excitability in patients with atypical parkinsonism syndromes (progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal ganglionic degeneration) (PSP and CBD).  We have also recently begun a 4-site rTMS clinical trial for PD patients (along with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Florida, and Toronto Western University).  This clinical trial, the MASTER-PD trial, is the first multicenter, sham-controlled clinical trial of rTMS in North America is aims to determine the efficacy and duration of benefit for rTMS in improving motor and mood symptoms in PD.  


The laboratory is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes, the Michael J Fox Foundation, CurePSP, Team Parkinson, the Parkinson Alliance, and the American Heart Association

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Allan Wu, M.D.
Jeff Bronstein, M.D. Ph.D
Carlos Portera-Calliau, M.D. Ph.D