June 22, 2007

rTMS Might Not Help Negative Schizophrenia Symptoms

The use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to activate the prefrontal cortex of the brain has been studied as a possible treatment for negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

Negative symptoms in schizophrenia are associated with the lack of important abilities. Examples include affective flattening, poverty of speech, low energy, and low motivation. These negative symptoms, or deficits, are highly resistant to improvement by neuroleptic (antipsychotic) medications.

Patients on antipsychotic medications but with prominent negative symptoms were treated with rTMS for 10 days and studied for two weeks afterwards.

No improvement was seen in their negative symptoms but some improvements in aspects of cognitive function, specifically in delayed recall and possibly also executive function, were seen at follow-up.

Read the article: rTMS ineffective for negative schizophrenia symptoms (Free subscription required)
Original source abstract: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for negative symptoms of schizophrenia: A randomized controlled pilot study

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