Movement execution can be delayed by transcranial magnetic stimulation delivered over primary motor cortical areas, resulting in transient inhibition of cortico-motor output. Inhibition or disruption of higher-order motor planning an preparatory processes, such as are thought to occur in the supplementary motor area (SMA), would allow an examination of processes at other stages of the motor control system. In this study, six subjects with Parkinson's disease and six healthy control subjects performed a non-cued sequential finger movement task. At various times relative to movement, high-intensity single-pulse magnetic stimulation was delivered over the region of the SMA, with minimal current spread to primary motor areas. When magnetic stimulation was given at early stages during the movement for parkinsonian subjects, movements times were significantly increased, indicating disrupted movements. Supplementary motor area stimulation has no effect on movements in their later stages when planning may be complete, but may disrupt movements in their early stages, when preparation for later stages may still be in progress. Further, possible instability of motor planning/preparation processes in Parkinson's disease is suggested, since these processes appeared more susceptible to disruption by magnetic stimulation in parkinsonian subjects than controls.
Cunnington, R., Iansek, R., Thickbroom, G., Laing, B. A., Mastaglia, F., Bradshaw, J. L., & Phillips, J. G. (1996). Effects of magnetic stimulation over supplementary motor area on movement in Parkinson's disease. Brain, 119(N/A), 815-822. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/119.3.815