Prof. Andrè Aleman (Dept. of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry/ Neurosciences/ Psychology, University Groningen, Netherlands) will talk about magnetic and electrical brain stimulation and their effects on symptoms of schizophrenia.
Recent years have witnessed an increase of published studies regarding noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) using electromagnetic fields in psychiatric disorders. Such NIBS has been applied in patients with schizophrenia to alleviate both positive and negative symptoms, albeit at different locations and different frequencies of stimulation. The two forms of NIBS that have been studied in several trials are repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). In this presentation, I take stock of recent findings. For positive symptoms, more specifically auditory hallucinations, studies have focused on 1Hz rTMS stimulation of the left temporal regions. Results have been mixed, although the most recent meta-analysis still shows an average stronger improvement in real rTMS conditions compared to sham stimulation. Our own study in Groningen did not reveal significant improvement after 10 sessions of rTMS. For negative symptoms, studies with rTMS have focused on the lateral prefrontal cortex, at 10 Hz or higher. The location of stimulation is based on theoretical models of the functional neuroanatomy of goal-directed behavior. These are discussed first as a starting point - indeed, results of trials will thus not only have clinical implications but will also inform neuroanatomical hypotheses. A meta-analysis of recent findings will be presented that suggests that treatment with noninvasive magnetic brain stimulation may ameliorate negative symptoms. Such stimulation has previously been shown to target circuits with dopaminergic innervation. We conducted a trial of prefrontal rTMS for negative symptoms and measured brain activation with fMRI before and after 3 weeks of treatment. Changes in activation of frontal regions were observed. In our most recent trial, we tested iTBS (intermittent theta-burst TMS) over the right DLPC for improving negative symptoms (especially apathy) in patients with schizophrenia. No significant improvement was observed for real versus sham treatment (both groups improved to a small extent). Taking all published findings together, the results of NIBS studies have clinical implications and may aid the development of novel treatment strategies.
Lecture and discussion from 6:00 pm until approximately 7:00 pm followed by dinner and informal discussion in the HWK Bistro.
The lecture is open to everybody, but registration by April 12 is required for this event.