Friday October 19, 2018

High-Frequency Magnetic Pulses May Treat “Hearing of Voices” Condition of Schizophrenia Patients: Study

People with schizophrenia experience delusions, muddled thoughts, and hallucinations

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"Hearing of voices" condition experienced by schizophrenia patients. Pixabay
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London, Sep 06, 2017: Researchers have found that high-frequency magnetic pulses can improve “hearing of voices” condition experienced by many patients with schizophrenia.

The research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference in Paris identified the area of the brain involved in the condition in some patients.

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“This is the first controlled trial to precisely determine an anatomically defined brain area where high frequency magnetic pulses can improve the hearing of voices,” said lead researcher Sonia Dollfus, Professor at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Caen in France.

Schizophrenia is a serious long-term mental health problem. People with schizophrenia experience a range of symptoms, which may include delusions, muddled thoughts and hallucinations.

One of the best-known is hearing voices, also known as Auditory Verbal Hallucination (AVH), which around 70 per cent of people with schizophrenia experience at some point.

These voices, may be ‘heard’ as having a variety of different characteristics, for example as internal or external, friendly or threatening, they may be continuously present or present only occasionally, and so on.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which uses magnetic pulses to the brain, has been suggested as a possible way of treating the hearing of voices in schizophrenia.

However, there is a lack of controlled trials to show that TMS works effectively in treating “hearing of voices”.

The French research team worked with a small group of patients who received active TMS treatment. A control group received sham (placebo) treatment.

The researchers interviewed the patients using a standard protocol — the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale — which revealed most of the characteristic features of the voices which they were hearing.

The treated patients received a series of 20 Hz high-frequency magnetic pulses over two sessions a day for two days.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the pulses were targetted at a specific brain area in the temporal lobe, which is associated with language.

After two weeks, the patients were re-evaluated. The researchers found that 34.6 per cent of the patients being treated by TMS showed a significant response, whereas only 9.1 per cent of patients in the sham group responded. (IANS)

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Young Men More Vulnerable to Mental Illness Than Women

The researchers found that the incidence of first-episode psychosis is high among ethnic minorities and in areas with less owner-occupied housing

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For the study, the researchers estimated the incidence of first-episode psychosis in six countries -- England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Brazil. Pixabay

Young men are more likely to experience first-episode psychosis, defined as the first manifestation of one or more severe mental disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, and depression, compared to women of the same age group, says a new study.

The findings published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry also showed that ethnic minorities and people living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas are also vulnerable to severe mental illness.

The study showed that the incidence of first-episode psychosis was higher among men aged 18 to 24 than among women in the same age group. Pixabay

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“The study confirmed that the incidence of first-episode psychosis varies considerably between major cities and rural areas. It also showed that environmental factors probably play a crucial role in this significant variation,” said one of the researchers Paulo Rossi Menezes, Professor at University of Sao Paulo Medical School (FM-USP) in Brazil.

“Until the end of the twentieth century, the etiology of psychotic disorders was believed to be mainly genetic, but the results of this study show that environmental factors are extremely important,” Menezes said.

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Menezes said this finding confirms fairly consistent data in the literature. Pixabay

He noted that the incidence of first-episode psychosis among young adult males is higher than among young adult females according to previous research, which also shows that as men approach 35, it tends to converge with the incidence among women.

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In women aged 45-54, it is slightly higher than among men in the same age group.

“We don’t know exactly why there are these differences in incidence between sexes and age groups, but they may be linked to the process of cerebral maturation: the brain matures between the ages of 20 and 25, and during this period, men seem to be more vulnerable to mental disorders than women,” Menezes said.

The researchers also found that the incidence of first-episode psychosis is high among ethnic minorities and in areas with less owner-occupied housing. (IANS)