Gen­tle Cur­rent Si­lences In­tru­sive Voices

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

BRAIN To schizophren­ics, dis­tract­ing voices in­side their heads are of­ten an or­di­nary symp­tom, which causes se­vere prob­lems, but sci­en­tists from the Univer­sity of Caen in France may have found a way to si­lence the voices.

The sci­en­tists have shown that the voices dis­ap­pear, if pa­tient brains are sub­jected to tran­scra­nial mag­netic stim­u­la­tion (TMS).

The method in­volves send­ing an elec­tric cur­rent through se­lected places in the brain by pro­duc­ing a mag­netic field around the skull.

In the ex­per­i­ment, 59 pa­tients first an­swered ques­tions about the voices in­side their heads – such as how of­ten they oc­cur and if the voices seem to come from the out­side or in­side of the head. Based on the an­swers, the test sub­jects were given a hal­lu­ci­na­tion score.

The par­tic­i­pants were ran­domly di­vided into groups. Some got the treat­ment, oth­ers just a placebo.

Of the test sub­jects who were given the proper treat­ment, 35% ex­pe­ri­enced a marked im­prove­ment, whereas only 9% of the con­trol group heard fewer voices in­side their heads. Sci­en­tists now aim to find out if the method can help the pa­tients in the longer term.

A mag­netic field around the skull can di­rect power through the brain, elim­i­nat­ing voices.

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