Gentle Current Silences Intrusive Voices
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.