What is the role of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the treatment of schizophrenia?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

An entirely different kind of treatment for schizophrenia, still in its early stages, is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS involves the electromagnetic induction of an electric field in the brain. Standard TMS affects neurons within 1.5-2 cm from the scalp, and deep TMS can affect cells to a depth of 6 cm. The electric field changes the “excitability” of the neurons and seems to be safe with few adverse effects. TMS is mostly used for depression. However, early work suggests that TMS, in some cases, may decrease auditory hallucinations [128] and negative symptoms [129] in schizophrenia.


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