Does repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation have a positive effect on working memory and neuronal activation in treatment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia?

OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to find out whether, under the conditions of a double-blind, placebo coil controlled study, high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the left prefrontal cortex will show positive effects on working memory with simultaneous assessment of respective changes in neuronal activation.

RESULTS: Stimulation treatment led to a reduction of seriousness of negative schizophrenia symptoms in both comparative groups. However, mutual comparison of real (n=19) and sham (n=11) rTMS, respectively, has shown that the effect of real rTMS was statistically significantly higher compared with placebo stimulation. During stimulation treatment an improvement in working memory performance was also found. No statistically significant difference between the real and placebo sham rTMS, respectively, was established. The rate of neuronal activation did not change at all during rTMS treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: From clinical point of view rTMS seems to be a well-tolerated neurostimulation method for treatment of negative schizophrenia symptoms with favourable of impact on cognitive functions.

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