Biochemical Biochemical changes after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)- Dr. R.I. Henkin
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The Taste and Smell Clinic

October 2018

Biochemical changes after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)

There have been no reports of biochemical changes associated with the use of rTMS except preliminary studies in our clinical program (1).

We have measured changes in several physiological parameters after use of rTMS. We have done this in an attempt to evaluate if biochemical changes after rTMS were associated with the inhibition of phantageusia (taste distortions in the absence of any oral stimulus) which we have been monitoring. Indeed, we have found that rTMS has been useful in inhibiting phantageusia in 80% of patients with these distortions (2,3).

Although rTMS has been used by many physicians to treat depression, tinnitus and several neurological disorders and we found it useful in treating sensory distortions, only in our studies have any biochemical changes after rTMS been demonstrated (2).

In order to verify and expand our prior studies in a larger group of patients, we measured carbonic anhydrase in red blood cells (CA I,II) and in saliva (CA VI) in 70 patients with phantageusia before and after rTMS. After rTMS, CA I,II in red blood cells and CA VI in saliva increased significantly from the untreated state consistent with inhibition of their phantageusia.

These results verify our prior studies demonstrating biochemical changes after rTMS. These results demonstrate that CA VI, a specific salivary growth factor necessary for normal taste and smell function, increases after rTMS consistent with its efficacy in improving taste function (4).

  1. Henkin RI, Potolicchio SJ, Levy LM, Moharram R, Velicu I, Martin BM. Carbonic anhydrase I, II and VI, blood plasma, erythrocyte and saliva zinc and copper increase after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Am J Med Sci. 2010;339:249-257.

  2. Henkin RI, Potolicchio SJ, Levy LM. Improvement in smell and taste dysfunction after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Am J Otolaryngol. 2011;32:38-46.

  3. Henkin RI. Commentary on “Transcranial magnetic stimulation: a treatment for smell and taste dysfunction” [editorial]. Am J Otolaryngol. 2011;32:178-180.

  4. Henkin RI. Human taste and smell disorders. In: Adelman G, Smith BH (eds). Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. 2nd Ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1999:1185-1186.