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Open Access Highly Accessed Primary research

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of auditory hallucinations: a preliminary open-label study

Oded Rosenberg1*, Yiftach Roth1, Moshe Kotler1, Abraham Zangen2 and Pinhas Dannon1

Author Affiliations

1 Beer Ya'akov Mental Health Center affiliated to Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel

2 The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2011, 10:3  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-10-3

Published: 9 February 2011

Abstract

Background

Schizophrenia is a chronic and disabling disease that presents with delusions and hallucinations. Auditory hallucinations are usually expressed as voices speaking to or about the patient. Previous studies have examined the effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the temporoparietal cortex on auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic patients. Our aim was to explore the potential effect of deep TMS, using the H coil over the same brain region on auditory hallucinations.

Patients and methods

Eight schizophrenic patients with refractory auditory hallucinations were recruited, mainly from Beer Ya'akov Mental Health Institution (Tel Aviv university, Israel) ambulatory clinics, as well as from other hospitals outpatient populations. Low-frequency deep TMS was applied for 10 min (600 pulses per session) to the left temporoparietal cortex for either 10 or 20 sessions. Deep TMS was applied using Brainsway's H1 coil apparatus. Patients were evaluated using the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale (AHRS) as well as the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms scores (SAPS), Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale, and the Scale for Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS).

Results

This preliminary study demonstrated a significant improvement in AHRS score (an average reduction of 31.7% ± 32.2%) and to a lesser extent improvement in SAPS results (an average reduction of 16.5% ± 20.3%).

Conclusions

In this study, we have demonstrated the potential of deep TMS treatment over the temporoparietal cortex as an add-on treatment for chronic auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic patients. Larger samples in a double-blind sham-controlled design are now being preformed to evaluate the effectiveness of deep TMS treatment for auditory hallucinations.

Trial registration

This trial is registered with clinicaltrials.gov (identifier: NCT00564096).