Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain that affects approximately 1% of the world’s population. Symptoms usually consist of auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thoughts and behavior, and impairment of usual social and recreational activities. Most people with schizophrenia will develop symptoms for the first time in their 20’s. Men tend to have an earlier onset than women. The severity can range from mild to completely disabling. The mainstay of treatment currently involves use of antipsychotic medications in combination with psychological and social supports.

Suicide is a complication of schizophrenia in about 10% of patients, and substance abuse occurs in 50%.

TMS is being successfully used to treat some of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Auditory hallucinations have been shown to be reduced with TMS, and other symptoms such as social withdrawal have been ameliorated as well.

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Selected References

  • Bagati, D., S.H. Nizamie, et al. (2009). “Effect of augmentatory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: randomized controlled study.” Aust N Z J Psychiatry 43(4): 386-392.
  • Feinsod, M., B. Sreinin, et al. (1998). “Preliminary evidence for a beneficial effect of low-frequency, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in patients with major depression and schizophrenia.” Depression and Anxiety 7: 65-68.
  • Freitas, C., F. Fregni, et al. (2009). “Meta-analysis of the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on negative and positive symptoms in schizophrenia.” Schizophr Res 108(1-3): 11-24.
  • Geller, S. G., N. Grisaru, et al. (1997). “Slow magnetic stimulation of prefrontal cortex in depression and schizophrenia.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology& Biological Psychiatry 21: 105-110.
  • Goyal, N., S. H. Nizamie, et al. (2007). “Efficacy of Adjuvant High Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Negative and Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia: Preliminary Results of a Double-Blind Sham-Controlled Study.” J Neuropsychiatry 19(4): 464-67.
  • Hoffman, R. E., N. N. Boutros, et al. (2000). “Transcranial magnetic stimulation and auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia.” Lancet 355(9209): 1073-1075.
  • Lee, S. H., W. Kim, et al. (2004). “A double blind study showing that two weeks of daily repetitive TMS over the left or right temporoparietal cortex reduces symptoms in patients with schizophrenia who are having treatment-refractory auditory hallucinations.” Neurosci Lett 376: 177-181.
  • Saba, G., C.M. Verdon, et al. (2006). “Transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of schizophrenic symptoms: a double blind sham controlled study.” Psychiatr Res 40(2): 147-152.

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*At this time, TMS is not FDA-aproved for the treatment of Schizophrenia, which would be considered an off-label application.