Brain "exercise" stimulation might improve memory in schizophrenics

Schizophrenics tend to suffer from a multitude of cognitive impairments, including memory, verbal skills, attention and IQ.

Scientists are currently testing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a way to help schizophrenics improve cognitive function. Results of a new study are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

rTMS Basics

In rTMS, a magnetic field is used to stimulate nerve cells via coils that are placed near the forehead. It's a non-invasive procedure that doesn't require anesthesia or sedation. The process can help to improve brain circuit activity and, therefore, cognitive function.

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry explains:

TMS can have lasting effects on brain circuit function because this approach not only changes the activity of the circuit that is being stimulated, but it also may change the plasticity of that circuit, i.e., the capacity of the circuit to remodel itself functionally and structurally to support cognitive functions.

rTMS and memory

In the study, patients with schizophrenia were asked to complete a working memory tasks both before and after four weeks of rTMS treatment.

Results showed that memory not only improved after treatment, but the improvement was comparable to the memory of healthy individuals.

Researchers hope the results will encourage FDA approval of rTMS to help treat schizophrenics. The treatment is currently FDA-approved for individuals who suffer from depression that has not responded to drug-based therapies.

"Working memory is an important predictor of functional outcome," the authors wrote. "Developing novel treatments aimed at improving these deficits may ultimately translate into meaningful changes in the lives of patients suffering from this debilitating disorder."

Source: Science Daily

More Articles

Creatine is a type of acid naturally manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. One of its primary roles in the body is to provide energy...

There are two commonly used sets of criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...

There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in...

People in the prodromal phase of schizophrenic experience what can be called...

The term "schizophrenic break" refers to an episode of acute psychosis in someone with...

More Articles

More Articles

Creatine is a type of acid naturally manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. One of its primary roles in the body is to provide energy...

There are two commonly used sets of criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...

There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in...

People in the prodromal phase of schizophrenic experience what can be called...

The term "schizophrenic break" refers to an episode of acute psychosis in someone with...

Treating schizophrenia with medication often yields positive results. Nowadays, there are many...

Understanding the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (or, in other words, the physiological...

Scientists have been studying schizophrenia for a long time, trying to determine what...

An estimated 30% of people with schizophrenia have refractory schizophrenia, which means their...

While most people can’t fathom purposely hurting themselves, self-injury is not uncommon with certain types of psychiatric disorders. Although it...

Although schizophrenia goes back several thousand years, this most serious of psychiatric disorders was not officially coined “schizophrenia”...

The neurotransmitter serotonin is known to influence a number of important brain functions, including perception, mood, sleep, appetite, cognition...

There are a number of different research methods used in psychology, but one of the most interesting to the layperson is the case study. Case...

The question of whether people with schizophrenia know they are ill is actually quite...

No one knows exactly what causes schizophrenia, and there are a number of...