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