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Open Access Highly Accessed Primary research

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation add-on for the treatment of auditory hallucinations: a double-blind study

Oded Rosenberg1*, Roman Gersner2, Limor Dinur Klein1, Moshe Kotler1, Abraham Zangen3 and Pinhas Dannon1

Author Affiliations

1 Beer Ya'acov Mental Health Center, Beer Ya'acov, Israel

2 Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

3 Department of Life Science, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2012, 11:13  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-11-13

Published: 6 May 2012

Abstract

Background

About 25% of schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations are refractory to pharmacotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy. We conducted a deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pilot study in order to evaluate the potential clinical benefit of repeated left temporoparietal cortex stimulation in these patients. The results were encouraging, but a sham-controlled study was needed to rule out a placebo effect.

Methods

A total of 18 schizophrenic patients with refractory auditory hallucinations were recruited, from Beer Yaakov MHC and other hospitals outpatient populations. Patients received 10 daily treatment sessions with low-frequency (1 Hz for 10 min) deep TMS applied over the left temporoparietal cortex, using the H1 coil at the intensity of 110% of the motor threshold. Procedure was either real or sham according to patient randomization. Patients were evaluated via the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale, Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms-Negative Symptoms, Clinical Global Impressions, and Quality of Life Questionnaire.

Results

In all, 10 patients completed the treatment (10 TMS sessions). Auditory hallucination scores of both groups improved; however, there was no statistical difference in any of the scales between the active and the sham treated groups.

Conclusions

Low-frequency deep TMS to the left temporoparietal cortex using the protocol mentioned above has no statistically significant effect on auditory hallucinations or the other clinical scales measured in schizophrenic patients.

Trial Registration

Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00564096.