Saturday November 18, 2017

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

People with schizophrenia experience delusions, muddled thoughts, and hallucinations

0
36
schizophrenia
"Hearing of voices" condition experienced by schizophrenia patients. Pixabay

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.

Also Read: New hormone test may distinguish schizophrenia, depression  

“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)

Next Story

Playing video games can help boost memory, says research

During the test of gamers and non-gamers, the gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning

0
35
Video games help boost memory
Video games help boost memory. Pixabay
  • Researchers have found that playing video games can help boost memory in the young as well as in the elderly
  • The gamers performed significantly better during the test of gamers and non-gamers
  • The gamers also showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning

London, October 2, 2017: Tired of watching your child play video games? Instead, join them, as researchers have found that playing video games can help boost memory in the young as well as in the elderly.

“Our study shows that gamers are better in analysing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge, and to categorise facts — especially in situations with high uncertainties,” said lead author Sabrina Schenk from Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany.

During the test of gamers and non-gamers, the gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning.

This kind of learning is linked to an increased activity in the hippocampus — a brain region that plays a key role in learning and memory.

“We think that playing video games trains certain brain regions like the hippocampus. That is not only important for young people, but also for older people; this is because changes in the hippocampus can lead to a decrease in memory performance. Maybe, we can treat that with video games in the future,” Schenk added.

Both teams did the so-called weather prediction task, a well-established test to investigate the learning of probabilities. The researchers simultaneously recorded the brain activity of the participants via magnetic resonance imaging.

Also read: ‘Games of Change’ Festival at New York Gives Gamers a Reality Check by Introducing Video Games based on Social and Civic Issues

The participants were shown a combination of three cue cards with different symbols. They should estimate whether the card combination predicted sun or rain and got a feedback if their choice was right or wrong.

They gradually learned, on the basis of the feedback, which card combination stands for which weather prediction.

The combinations were thereby linked to higher or lower probabilities for sun and rain.

After completing the task, the study participants filled out a questionnaire to sample their acquired knowledge about the cue card combinations.

Also, the gamers were notably better in combining the cue cards with the weather predictions than the control group. (IANS)

Next Story

Treating insomnia in young people can ease mental health problems like Anxiety, Depression: Study

The study is published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal

0
39
A study published Wednesday found that treating insomnia in young people could ease mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
A study published Wednesday found that treating insomnia in young people could ease mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. VOA

London, USA, September 7, 2017: Treating young people who suffer from insomnia by using online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could reduce debilitating mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, scientists said Wednesday.

In a large trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, researchers at Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute also found that successfully treating sleep disruption eased psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia.

“Sleep problems are very common in people with mental health disorders, but for too long insomnia has been trivialized as merely a symptom, rather than a cause, of psychological difficulties,” said Daniel Freeman, a professor of clinical psychology who led the work.

“This study turns that old idea on its head, showing that insomnia may actually be a contributory cause of mental health problems.”

The research involved 3,755 university students from across Britain who were randomized into two groups. One group had six sessions of online CBT, each lasting about 20 minutes, and delivered via a digital program called Sleepio. The others had access to standard treatments but no CBT.

Freeman’s team monitored participants’ mental health with a series of online questionnaires at zero, three, 10 and 22 weeks from the start of treatment.

The researchers found that those who had the CBT sleep treatment reduced their insomnia significantly as well as showing small but sustained reductions in paranoia and hallucinatory experiences.

The CBT also led to improvements in depression, anxiety, nightmares, psychological well-being, and daytime work and home functioning.

Andrew Welchman, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust health charity, which helped fund the research, said the results suggested improving sleep may provide a promising route into early treatment to improve mental health.

Freeman added: “A good night’s sleep really can make a difference to people’s psychological health. Helping people get better sleep could be an important first step in tackling many psychological problems and emotional problems.” (VOA)

Next Story

This is how Brain Processes Emotional Spillover

Researchers in the US have for the first time pinpointed areas directly responsible for emotional spillover

0
80
emotional spillover
Little girl crying due to negative emotional spillover. Pixabay
  • When we let emotions from one event carry on to the next, such spillover can color our impressions and behavior in those new situations — sometimes for the worse
  • When the lateral prefrontal area of the brain (a region known for executive function) was inhibited by the stimulation, participants showed more emotional spillover

New York, June 18, 2017: As part of efforts to understand the emotional side of the brain, researchers in the US have for the first time pinpointed areas directly responsible for emotional spillover.

When we let emotions from one event carry on to the next, such spillover can color our impressions and behavior in those new situations — sometimes for the worse.

ALSO READ: Digital Games may Improve Mental Health, boost their Academics in Refugee Kids in War-Torn Regions

Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a technique that can temporarily “knock out” or inhibit activity in specific parts of the brain, the team discovered that when the lateral prefrontal area of the brain (a region known for executive function) was inhibited by the stimulation, participants showed more emotional spillover.

For the experiment, the team from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison collected people’s ratings and first impressions of neutral faces they saw immediately after faces that were smiling, prompting positive emotions, or fearful, prompting negative emotions.

“It was interesting because participants saw the emotional faces very briefly and when asked afterward, they didn’t think that they had been influenced by it in their ratings,” said Regina Lapate who led the work.

“Emotional spillover can happen without us being aware of it,” Lapate added in the study published in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“If your first impression of someone is formed when you’re experiencing emotional spillover from a previous context, that negative impression may stick,” Lapate said.

Next on Lapate’s agenda is to test whether the reverse works, i.e. can TMS stimulation that increases neural firing in the prefrontal cortex lead to a decrease in negative emotional spillover. (IANS)