For folks with schizophrenia, “listening to voices” is a typical symptom that may be disturbing. However a brand new examine from France means that stimulating a exact spot in such sufferers’ brains could ease these auditory hallucinations.
The examine concerned 59 sufferers with schizophrenia who stated they heard voices that different folks couldn’t understand. The folks within the examine answered questions in regards to the nature of those voices, together with whether or not the voices have been pleasant or threatening, occurred often or solely often, or have been “inside” (perceived as coming from inside a affected person’s head) or “exterior” (perceived as coming from outdoors a affected person’s head). Based mostly on the individuals’ solutions, the people got an “auditory hallucinations” rating, with larger scores indicating more-severe hallucinations.
The researchers then used a remedy referred to as high-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which sends magnetic pulses by an individual’s scalp to stimulate mind cells. The scientists focused a particular a part of the mind that’s linked with folks’s understanding and manufacturing of language, inside an space often known as the temporal lobe. [10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain]
Sufferers have been randomly assigned to obtain both TMS or a “sham” remedy that was not anticipated to have an impact. Every group underwent two classes of their remedy a day, for 2 days.
About 35 % of sufferers within the TMS group confirmed a major response to the remedy, in comparison with simply 9 % of sufferers within the sham group. A big response was outlined as a greater than 30 % lower within the auditory hallucinations rating.
“‘Listening to voices’ is usually a disturbing symptom of schizophrenia, each for sufferers and for these near victims,” stated examine writer Sonia Dollfus, a professor of psychiatry on the College of Caen in France, stated in an announcement. “We’ve proven that remedy with high-frequency TMS makes a distinction to at the least some victims,” Dollfus stated. Nonetheless, she famous that extra analysis is required to find out whether or not TMS is one of the simplest ways to deal with these sufferers in the long run.
The examine was offered Sept. 5 on the European Faculty of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP).
Earlier research have prompt that TMS might deal with auditory hallucinations in folks with schizophrenia, however these research have been much less rigorous than the present one. The brand new examine is “the primary managed trial to point out an enchancment in these sufferers by focusing on a particular space of the mind and utilizing high-frequency TMS,” Dollfus stated. (A managed trial is one that features a “management group,” i.e., a bunch that didn’t get the TMS remedy.)
Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of the Central Institute of Psychological Well being in Mannheim, Germany, who was not concerned within the examine, stated that the analysis builds on earlier work suggesting that this mind area performs a important position within the technology of voice hallucinations in schizophrenia. Though the share of individuals whose signs improved from the remedy was reasonable, “TMS is a welcome addition to the therapeutic repertoire [for schizophrenia patients], particularly for sufferers who don’t reply to treatment,” Meyer-Lindenberg stated in an announcement. (Meyer-Lindenberg is a member of the ECNP govt board.)
The examine has been accepted for publication within the peer-reviewed journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.
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