Transcranial magnetic stimulation

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?

TMS is a procedure that uses an electromagnetic coil placed over the scalp to stimulate the nerve cells beneath it. In general, low frequency stimulation reduces nerve cell activity and high frequency stimulation increases nerve cell activity. TMS has been tested as a possible treatment for schizophrenia. While most people with schizophrenia respond adequately to antipsychotic medication, some find it is not completely effective; TMS may be of use in these circumstances.

What is the evidence for TMS for people with schizophrenia?

Moderate and high quality evidence shows that low frequency TMS improves auditory hallucinations. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests high frequency TMS improves negative symptoms and general mental state. These improvements have been reported shortly after treatment (up to 10 days), however, longer term effects have not yet been established. Around 10% of people report transient headache as a side effect of rTMS.

March 2019

Last updated at: 10:09 pm, 14th May 2019
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